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Ep. #25 – How Your Personal Brand Story Helps Attract New Clients with Deirdre Van Nest


Do you have a Personal Brand Story? Do you know your “why” – as in, why you believe in the importance and value of your work?

And, are you using it to connect with your prospects and clients in a meaningful way that leads to winning their business and generating referrals?

In this episode of Top Advisor Podcast, Referral Coach Bill Cates welcomes Deirdre Van Nest, Founder of Crazy Good Talks. Deirdre tells us why she works with financial advisors, a touching story that revolves around a personal tragedy. She also highlights the power of advisors telling their “why” stories to clients.

Want More Top Advisor Podcast Episodes? CLICK HERE!

Bill & Deirdre discuss:

  • The difference between a personal brand story and a bio story.
  • How one advisor increased his “win rate” from an already high 85% to almost 100%.
  • How an appropriately vulnerable story can help you connect with prospects and clients.
  • Where and how successful advisors are using their personal brand stories to attract and convert new clients.
  • …and more!



Connect With Bill Cates:


  • Show Transcript

    Welcome to the Top Advisor Podcast brought to you by ProudMouth’s PodRocket Academy. I’m your host Bill Cates, creator of the Cates’s Academy for Relationship Marketing. In each episode I interview one of our industry’s top performers, getting them to pass on their secrets to success to you so that you can impact more lives and generate more income. Now onto the show.

    BILL: Welcome to Top Advisor Podcast, where I interview top advisors for top advisors. Before we get today’s interview that I know will be a good one. I want to mention something. One of the things advisors tell me from all levels of success is, “Bill, just to help me get in front of more quality prospects in the most time effective and cost-efficient manner.”

    This is why I created our Top Advisor Coach program. The program is the perfect blend of video-based training where, at your own pace, you’ll learn all the aspects of our relationship marketing system, combined with the assistance of an experienced financial advisor coach. It’s affordable and if you’re in a growth mode and you’re not just looking for quantity of prospects, but quality as well.

    I want to encourage you to go to We can set up a complimentary strategy call and even do a quick assessment to see what areas might need the most attention.

    I’ve been working in this industry for 30 years. I’ve seen what used to work, but has stop working. I’ve seen strategies and ideas come and go. And like you, I see how technology is changing some aspects of how we communicate with and acquire new clients.

    With that said, one of the things that has remained constant is this, if your prospective clients are going to give you influence over their current and future financial lives, they want to know what you do. They want to know how you do it. And they want to know who you are.

    So today’s show is focused on the “who you are”, how you communicate that in a way that will resonate with your prospects, and how you convert more high-level prospects into right fit clients.

    To help us today is our episode’s featured guest, Deirdre Van Nest. Deirdre is the founder of Crazy Good Talks, a personal branding and presentation skill company that works with financial professionals to create and present their personal brand stories and speeches.

    I met Deirdre several years ago while speaking at the same conference. Not only was I impressed by her relevant and useful content, I saw how the advisors in the room were highly engaged with her message, they were taking notes and asking questions. Make sure you go to and check out her Crazy Good Talks TV, blog, and podcast.

    So Deirdre Van Nest, welcome to Top Advisor Podcast.

    DEIRDRE: Well, thank you, Bill Cates. I’m excited to be here and I don’t just want this to be a good episode. It needs to be Crazy Good, right?

    BILL: Crazy good, crazy episode. And if people hear me stumbling over your name it’s cause I just learned the proper way to pronounce it. I have to say whenever I think of your name, I have to think of beer.

    DEIRDRE: So a lot of people want to say “Dee Dra”. And I’ve learned if I say it rhymes with beer, people get it.

    BILL: I think this is a good party game. You know, every time someone says your name, they got to take a sip.

    DEIRDRE: I like it. I think that’s good. Cause it’s tough. Right? You had a little tough time with that, but you got it now, Bill.

    BILL: Yeah. People get mine though. They used to say Bill Gates and then they finally realize I’m not the guy with billions. Right?

    So your company Crazy Good Talks is all about teaching financial professionals how to communicate with prospects, clients, and their teams in a way that quickly builds trust, and makes a human-to-human connection. So what is your “why” here or to use your terminology, what is your personal brand story? Why is this concept important to you and how is this important to the folks who are listening?

    DEIRDRE: Yeah, so I want to tell you why I have this special place in my heart for financial services and why I spend the majority of my time here.

    When I was 10, my mom and dad got dressed up to go, I’m from New York originally Bill, and they got dressed up to go on a fancy date in Manhattan. And about four minutes into the drive, my mom was driving, my mom turned to my Dad and turned off the radio, and said, I want to talk with you about what I want to do for the rest of my life.

    And just to give you a little background, she had been home with my sister and me for 10 years, and she was like super smart, super entrepreneurial, and loved being home with us, but wanting to go back to work and so wanted to share with him what she had been thinking. So, at this point, right after she says that the light turns green.

    Yeah, unfortunately, it was very poor timing because the light turns green and she pulls the car into the intersection and they were immediately T-boned by another car running the red light at 90 miles an hour. Yeah. So she died. I mean, she was killed, right. And, people always ask, I’ll answer this question now, did you ever find out what she was going to say?

    No, we never know. Right. So it’s kind of one of those things that haunts you Bill, right? So my dad was in very critical condition. We, fortunately, did not lose him, but he was out of work for many months, and losing my mom like that, in a snap. I mean, I remember I kissed her goodbye just three minutes prior because I was playing tag outside and they saw me outside and I kiss them goodbye. And I’ve never seen her again. And so when you lose someone like that and your life changes in a snap, you know that it’s important to be prepared for whatever life throws at you whenever you can be.

    And we were very blessed, as you can imagine this took a really emotional toll on my family. But it didn’t take a financial toll. And I’m really grateful. Something I’ve thought about as I’ve grown into a mom and a woman, I don’t know how people come back from that. Like you have this incredibly devastating event. And then you’re now thinking about, do I have to move my kids? Can I feed them? Do I have to go back to work?  And all these horrible things that come along with that.

    So it made me very obsessive about my own financial planning once I grew into an adult and had kids. And what I learned is I started talking with my friends who were having kids, back when I was having kids. And I had already grabbed my husband and we went, we got life insurance we started working with a financial professional, and I thought everybody thought this way, Bill. Do you know what? It’s actually not normal. Most people are not thinking this way because they think stuff happens to other people.

    And it’s unpleasant to have these conversations or these thoughts. So one of the reasons I am committed to helping financial advisors grow their businesses is that I want to help them. If I can help them be a better communicator, I can help them inspire all of those people. People who have assets to protect and assets to invest, who are one tragedy away from total financial devastation.

    I can inspire them. I can help them be the communicator that inspires those clients to have those decisions. Those conversations and make those decisions today rather than put it off for someday.

    BILL: Hmm. So you’re on a mission. I hear it. It’s important. I started off your story with a little joke and I apologize.

    DEIRDRE: No, you didn’t know. It’s okay. You didn’t know. So it’s okay. And it’s true. It’s like, wow, that the whole thing’s bad timing, right? But know, you make good with what you have. Right Bill? And so if I can help more families via financial professionals, not have to suffer financially, then I feel like I’ve been able to do some good in the world.

    BILL: Absolutely. So Deirdre a few weeks ago, you told me about an already successful adviser who, when he came to you, his new client win rate, meaning his percentage of converting prospects to clients was already in the 85% range. Already doing well, already converting a lot of prospects to clients. But using your personal brands story strategy his win rate increased to a hundred percent, which is a little hard to believe. But I know you’ll tell us about this.

    So is it even possible to have a hundred percent win rate? I guess if you just go for one client per year and it’s your brother-in-law, maybe you can. I want to start out with a success story because I want people to really listen to what you have to say. I wanted to just provide some evidence up front that it does work. So what did the guy do? What did you teach him and how does he make it happen?

    DEIRDRE: Yeah. And I love that we’re talking about this because I think that if you’re an advisor, you’re listening and you’re thinking, oh my gosh, personal, like that word personal, right. You’re talking about getting personal. Do I really need to do that? That sounds a little unnecessary and scary.

    And we can talk more about that Bill. I’ll give you the example first, but you really do need to do that. And so just in case you have any thoughts looming in your head thinking, you know, my clients are more sophisticated than that. That’s not gonna interest them or I’m too successful for that. I don’t need to do that. I love Roger’s story because he blows all those myths out of the water.

    So let me give you a little background on him, Bill. Roger is an advisor with a firm of 12,000 advisors. And he’s been in the industry and the business for 40 years. For the last two-thirds of his career, he has always been in the top 50 advisors with that firm of 12,000. Okay. He’s also in Dallas where he serves very high net-worth, sophisticated individuals. And he saw the, hmm what word do I want to use? He saw he had the vision of what, including his personal brand why story, could do for his business.

    And so what he started doing Bill, he started adding that to his one-on-one meeting. So prospects would come in the door and he added the personal brand why story to the conversation. And during that, now I agree with you a hundred percent. At some point. That’s going to change. I mean, at some point something’s going to happen and then you’re at 99. Right. But, but the point is whether he goes from a hundred to 95%, the point is to be able to at his level of success, be able to get a 10% to 15% increase consistently. That’s really more important than even the right number.

    But this was over an eight-month period of time and the way he words it, he doesn’t like to say a hundred percent and I get why, cause that is a little tough to swallow the way he words it is that not one person has walked into my office as a prospect and not walked out as a client. Okay. So that’s how he words it. And it’s because he added the personal brand why story. Now, like I said, that was over an eight-month period of time. I haven’t checked in with him. We still work together, but I haven’t asked him recently. Maybe that changed last week. I don’t know, but I feel pretty happy for him with that eight-month period of time. With that increase.

    BILL: I think he had some colleagues that sent them some people that weren’t a good match. And so they just wanted to bring them down to the real world. He’s like, there’s no way he’s going to want to serve these prospects.

    DEIRDRE: Exactly. Yeah.

    BILL: Without revealing who Roger is or too many details. Can you give us just a sense of the story because I know everyone’s wondering, “Well, what is this great story this guy had?”

    DEIRDRE: Well, what I would like to do actually, and I can tell you where you can go to find the story if people want to take a look at it. He’s out there with it. So like there’s a video on my website of him talking. So we can put that in the show notes if you want to add where people go.

    Can I define a personal brand why story first in case people are like, I’m not even sure what you’re talking about? I think that might be helpful.

    BILL: Yes, please.

    DEIRDRE: Okay. So let me tell you what it’s not okay. What it is not is a story to make you look smart or credible. It is not that. That story is what I call a bio story. And a bio story is a story where you weave in a story-like format, like what you’ve done, your credentials, that’s giving you that credibility. Okay. This is a story about why you do what you do, coupled with, and this is the most important piece, why you care about the people you serve.

    Now, Bill, I shared a Personal Brand Why story already on the podcast. Right. I shared the story about my mom and dad. That’s actually the perfect example of a typical personal brand why story. Did you notice that I didn’t give you a single credential? Not one.

    BILL: Right. So, let me ask you something about that. Cause, this is what I call a Client Focused Why? Because it’s the same thing. It’s our emotional connection to our value. Why we believe in what we do. It’s an aha. Sometimes it’s something that happens to us before we got in this business. Sometimes it’s happened while we’re in the business. To a life insurance agent, it’s delivering a death benefit check for the first time and realizing, holy macro, this really does make a difference and all kinds of other ones.

    DEIRDRE: And that was Roger’s story, by the way, Roger’s story is about delivering a death claim and how that totally transformed him. So yes, go ahead.

    BILL: So your story and some other stories that some folks that I’ve coached or interviewed is that it tugs at the heartstrings. Let’s put it that way. And so with a lot of folks, I coach telling the stories early with prospects. So prospects get a sense of who you are.

    However, when you have a situation where, you know, my mom was killed when I was a teenager or one of the guys I’ve coached a little bit, my father died and all he left me was this watch. That he uses to keep time for his meetings with his clients. I think you have to be careful how and when you tell that, do you not? You need to build a little bit more stuff going on, and tell it a little later in the meeting or the relationship. Talk to me about the types of stories and the timing of that.

    DEIRDRE: Yeah. That’s a great question. I think you could be cognizant of it and read your client, but I don’t know that if you have a story that tends to be more centered on tragedy that you have to do it later in the meeting. Here’s what I always tell my clients.

    We can’t choose a story where the client feels like they have to take care of you. Does that make sense?

    BILL: Yeah, or that we’re doing therapy with them.

    DEIRDRE: Exactly. Exactly. So it’s really the way in which the advisor’s able to share and tell that story and then quickly move people from that story into what’s next. That matters more than the story. And again, I don’t like to get overly prescriptive because I think there’s a lot of room for art and the art is each adviser figuring out what works for them. But you know, as well as I do in working with advisors, many do like a prescription upfront. And then they kind of figure it out right. As, as they go and what’s going to work for them.

    And so my prescription upfront for the story is to tell it in the beginning of the meeting for two reasons, and I’ll walk you through the exact verbiage that I taught Roger. So it doesn’t feel weird or awkward. That’s the thing you have to make sure you can do this and transition in and out in a way that doesn’t feel weird and awkward.

    But the point of telling it upfront is twofold. One. You want to build that trust, connection and likability as quickly as possible, as quickly as possible. My preference is for you not to wait until the end of the meeting to do that if possible.

    Okay. The second is, I think there’s been wrong thinking in this industry for decades. And I think the wrong thinking comes under one umbrella, but it’s done two things, the wrong thinking, which has now changed. So if you’re listening, listen please, this has changed. Is this idea that as an advisor, you should never talk about yourself. I get where that came from because there probably were advisors back in the day who were making it all about them and their service and blah, blah, blah. And it’s about the client.

    However, if you can think for a second Bill, do you have any connected, trusting relationship where you don’t know anything about the other person? Like it’s very unusual.

    BILL: Well, it’s hard to have that trusting relationship if you don’t have at least a sense of who the person is.

    DEIRDRE: Exactly. And the only way they’re not going to get that from reading your website, I mean, they could, right. But there has to be some human give and take in order for that to develop and I can promise you the relationship I’ve built with my advisor and the loyalty I have has been in between rates of return.

    It has nothing to do with that. I couldn’t even tell you what it is at this point and has had everything to do with our relationship. Right. And so if you’re still in this mode where you’re afraid of saying anything about yourself, I want to release you from that prison. But I want to put guard rails up and say that you do have to be thoughtful. It’s not like hanging out with your friends and show appropriate vulnerability and appropriate personal interaction.

    So here’s where this other thing has gone askew. This advice of, “Oh, you should never talk about yourself” is you have to recognize and we can link you to a video I have of Roger talking about this Bill. It’s like 90 seconds. It’s really quick. But one of the things he figured out was people are coming into your office and you are asking them to share very personal information. And that is difficult if you haven’t gone first, I’m challenging my clients and any advisor, who’s up to the task that you go first. You share some appropriate client-centered vulnerability first that is going to open them up like you’ve probably never seen.

    BILL: I always teach people to do this sooner than later. A little formula just to kind of add a little to this, I’ve seen one person do that seems to work pretty well for her is she’ll do a little bit of “my company”, a little bit of “who I work with”, “what I do”, just to kind of not just jump into the deep end of the story.

    “Know that’s a little bit about me, a little bit about what I do. I’ve got a lot of questions for you. I know you have some for me, but I just want to shift gears for a second and tell you a little bit about why I do this. Kind of what drives me every day.” So she has a little warm-up to this. She says, you know, I like to shift gears so that all of a sudden the other person leans in a little. And then there’s a story and we know people listen to stories differently, the brain, different parts of the brain actually get activated with a story.

    And then she brings it home with the client focus part of it, which is, this is why. Right. I’ve made it a mission to not let anything like that ever happen to anybody I know kind of thing. And then go on with the appointment. So I think that’s great. What are the ingredients or components, if you will, of an effective story? Are there a few key things you want to at least think about when you’re developing this?

    DEIRDRE: Yeah. Okay. So first of all, let’s talk about mistakes and I’ll tie that into components. One of the biggest mistakes I see advisors making is telling the wrong story or the wrong angle to the story. So you’ve got to make sure you identify the right story and the right angle, and I’m not going to lie this can be tricky and a bit of a heavy lift to do on your own. It just can. It’s actually one of the reasons why I used to teach advisors how to do this. It’s one of the reasons why we started doing a turnkey white club service, where we do it for you. But I want to give you a couple of thoughts if you want to attempt this on your own.

    So we find advisors fall into three camps when it comes to identifying their story. This is the first place to start. The first camp is the advisor who had something personal happen directly to them like I shared with them about my Mom and my dad, right. And it usually happens in the first 25 years of life. And it motivates them to get into this career. They can happen later on, but that’s kind of typical.

    The second camp is an advisor who just fell into this. And for those advisors, they struggle. It is harder to figure this out. And they’re like, what’s my story. They liked math. They just got into this for whatever reason. So for those advisors where we go and what we recommend is to think about, and this is what we did with Roger. Think about a client who has just totally pulled at your heartstrings, right? The client where you had a very emotional reaction, the client that you thought about, you couldn’t forget about, or the one that gets you out of bed every day, because you’re so excited to help that type of person, your story can be a client-centered why story. I’m going to go back to that in a minute though. Cause there’s a really important nuance with this one.

    And then the third camp is both. You’ve had both situations and most advisors have had the client’s story obviously happen to them. So if you had an origin story, it’s likely you’ve also had the client story. If that’s you, if you fall into both camps, nine times out of 10, I’m not going to say all the time, nine times out of 10, your personal story, the one that happened to you personally, is going to be more powerful. And the one that we usually go towards, if we’re picking, one or the other.

    Now here’s the nuance. If you’re picking the client story, this is not a story because this is a different story type. This is not a story where you’re talking about how all the beautiful things you did to help the client. You’ll probably mention a few things you did, but again, this is not the story to make you sound smart and to show these amazing client results. This story, when you’re talking about the client is so that the listener can hear and feel the emotions the client had and then feel the emotions you have about helping them.

    It’s a story that’s solely about your heart. And why it moves you every day to get out of bed and do this work as opposed to any other work you can do. Does that make sense?

    BILL: Yeah, it does. And I’m thinking of my mother and father. Here’s why, my mother was very out there emotional, you know, heart on her sleeve, expressive, etc. She would love to hear the story, she’s got her own she’d tell. My dad, statistician, you know, analytical, falls into the camp of a lot of folks maybe even listening to this that, what’s all this touchy-feely stuff? And so there’s a vulnerability that some people are more comfortable exposing or revealing to perfect strangers. So talk about that a little bit. Some folks don’t feel comfortable doing this. How do they get over that? Or what’s your perspective on that?

    DEIRDRE: Yeah, so totally, totally feel you on that one. I want to give you an example in a moment, but here’s the deal and this is the Deirdre’s tough love section of the podcast.

    If you’re uncomfortable, get over it. I don’t really care if you’re uncomfortable. Cause this is not about you. I mean, I’ll help you get past it, but if you’re going to use that as an excuse, stop it because here’s the deal. And you even said it earlier, Bill, you’re not telling this story for you. You’re telling it for your client and to help more people. You’re actually limiting your client’s ability to make a decision faster. And you told me a fascinating study about that Bill. So I’m going to ask you if you know what I’m talking about, about the neuroscientist study, you can’t even make a decision.

    BILL: Yeah

    DEIRDRE: So let’s talk about that in a moment to prove this point. But you are limiting your client’s ability to make decisions faster, life-impacting decisions because of your uncomfortableness at sharing a little appropriately vulnerable part of yourself. And so you just have to get in the mindset that I’m not going to use that as an excuse.

    The way to get past it is to actually do it. I can tell you I’m pretty much scared every day of my life. And the only way I’ve gotten past any of that is by actually doing it.

    BILL: It’s funny how you can’t think your way through a fear, can you?

    DEIRDRE: No.

    BILL: I want to tell you a little bit about that study, but I want to tell you about another one first.

    I just read recently and I’m trying to find the original source of this, but it was something to the effect of, around 28-29% of advisors feel that having a “personal relationship” with our client and it’s the kind that you’re describing. I call it a business friendship. You’re not going out late at night drinking, telling each other deep dark secrets. But it goes beyond the core work that brought you together in the first place. And so 28-29% of advisors think that that’s important. But 68% of clients surveyed thought it was important. So there’s already a gap, a disconnect with what advisors think clients want and vice versa.

    So the story or it’s really research, Antonio Demasio, he’s a neuroscientist. And he had subjects who had a part of their brain-damaged where they couldn’t feel emotion. Couldn’t feel emotion, which is kind of odd to think about, but because they couldn’t feel emotion, they literally couldn’t make decisions and they couldn’t decide if they were going to have wheat flakes or corn flakes for breakfast.

    They worked out of habit, what they were used to doing, and they had checklists and things like that. But they couldn’t make decisions. No ability to feel emotion equals no ability to make a decision. And so that’s why, in the work that we do without as they say, pulling the ambulance up to the front door of their house, right? We do have to hit the emotional cord within our prospects and clients, or they won’t take action.

    Now, luckily we’re dealing with money, so there’s almost always emotion involved money. But that’s why this emotional component is what makes us human. You know, we’re not thinking beings that feel, we’re feeling beings that think. And so that’s gotta be a component in everything that we do.

    DEIRDRE: We’ll absolutely Bill. And here’s the point of the story, if the client doesn’t feel any emotion towards the advisor or not enough emotion, they will not decide to work with you. They will drag their feet or they won’t make a decision and take your advice. So the whole point of sharing this story is to open up the space for them to be willing to learn from you and take your advice so that you can help them.

    And I just want to give you a quick little story to your question about the analytical person. And so yes, you have to keep in mind, that you have to read your audience in the sense that if you know someone or can tell someone is like that super analytical, maybe you don’t tell the three-minute version of your story.

    You tell the 90-second version of your story. But the thing to remember is I don’t care what someone does for their work, or if they’re analytical, they’re all human beings at the center and human beings are wired to connect and learn through stories.

    So here’s a perfect example. Years ago, I was called out by an advisor, a very successful advisor partnership to come and watch a workshop that they delivered multiple times a year to engineers. They lived in Minneapolis where I live, so I was able to go watch it in person. I went on a Tuesday in May and I’m watching this and I’m taking notes. And at the end of the presentation that the two advisors and I, got together and we did a debrief.

    Now they had about 20 things they needed to change in that presentation. To bring it up to where it needed to be in order to get the results that they wanted. They were delivering the same presentation the next day to an almost identical group of engineers, needless to say, there’s no time in 12 hours to change 20 things in a presentation. So all we did was we added a story to the opening of the presentation.

    The difference between the Wednesday group and the Tuesday group couldn’t have been more different. And my client Todd was saying what you’re saying, like, Dierdre, these are engineers. I don’t know if they’re going to go for this. And I’m like, you hired me. Will you just trust me?

    And he was terrified. The Wednesday group of engineers, you could feel the energy difference in the room Bill, they’re leaning forward. They’re more engaged. They’re asking better questions. And they received double the request for appointments at the end of the Wednesday presentation as they did with the Tuesday presentation. All because we added one story to the opening of the presentation.

    So, actuary statisticians, and engineers are human beings with feelings and whether or not they think they can be swayed by emotion. They are.

    BILL: Well actually, when you think about it, the illustrations we present, the Morningstar reports, all the various statistics, and very practical, logical things. It’s all very important. And at the end of the day, what it does is it actually creates an emotional response. It’s like, “Oh, Yeah, that looks like a good opportunity” or, “Oh yeah. I could see how that’s costing me money. So I need to fix that.”

    So at the end of the day, it all elicits an emotional response before someone will move forward, how they express that emotionality changes, but it’s still going on there.

    DEIRDRE: They can’t control it. The brain is doing it. Can I go back just to that question about vulnerability, because I think there’s some nuance there. So one of the things that I talk about a lot is in business, you can’t have what I call gratuitous vulnerability.

    Do you know what I mean by that? Like, just violence or cursing, just throwing in to throw it in. And this bothers me for advisors. There’s been people, gurus who have said to advisers, tell stories, go to the pain and be vulnerable. Okay. That’s half the advice. If you do that, you will likely overshare. TMI. Have you ever been in an audience Bill with TMI? And you’re like, why are you telling me this?

    BILL: I’ve probably done it.

    DEIRDRE: I’m sure. Yeah. Right. I’m sure we’ve all done it. You don’t want to be the TMI. And that’s what I think advisors are really more afraid of. I don’t know that they’re afraid so much of being personal and vulnerable because most advisors and not at least the ones I work with are personable people, very likable, personable people.

    I think it’s this fear of oversharing, which is a legitimate fear. Okay. So here’s the deal when it comes to stories in business, you only want to add details that will actually move the story forward and are part of the main storyline.

    You’re not adding details to make someone like feel sorry for you. You’re not adding details that they don’t really need to know to get the gist of the story. So here’s an example of what could be an overshare or what I call a distracting detail in a story.

    One of the things that I purposely do not share when I share my why story, unless I’m giving this example, is that my mom was actually killed by a cop on a high-speed chase.

    BILL: Well, I could see that that would create all kinds of other, I don’t know, judgments, biases, stuff. That’s really not your main point you’re trying to make.

    DEIRDRE: It’s not germane to the point I’m trying to make. So that is what I call a distracting detail, but a distracting detail is an overshare, right? Because now what’s going to happen? If I share that and I’m in a one-on-one meeting with someone. They’re probably going to have a lot of questions about that piece. And now we’re off the rails going down the route of me and my sorrow and my thing rather than staying focused on the point, which is to serve the client through my story.

    So you really have to, and this is why this can be the heavier lift. If you’re going to do this on your own, please get someone to help you edit. You cannot edit your own work. It’s nearly impossible because you will think details are super important and interesting that really aren’t.

    BILL: I would also say, if you’re struggling doing this with prospects, which is what we’re advocating, start with clients. Start with clients who love you and let them know you’re working on it. Because you’ve got a receptive audience and they’ll say, “Oh, I didn’t know that about you” and et cetera, et cetera.

    So start there. And you’ll see how they react. And you’ll see if you have too much, not enough, all that good stuff.

    DEIRDRE: I love that suggestion Bill. I’m just thinking about my advisor, Eric. If he came to me and said, “Deirdre, I’m really working on my why. And. I realized I haven’t shared enough of myself with my people in the beginning. Can you just listen and tell me what you find boring, what you find irrelevant? What seems like an overshare?” I think it was a great idea.

    BILL: Yeah. And give him permission to be totally candid and be a yes person.

    And in a minute I want to talk a little bit about results and there’s someone you mentioned, you said he posted a story on LinkedIn and got like their why and got appointments in it. So I want to talk about that, so everybody stay with us.

    First, we need to take a very brief pause because this show is made possible by the great folks at PodRocket Academy. So let’s hear a word from them first.

    [SPONSOR MESSAGE] This podcast is sponsored by Proud Mouth, the influence accelerators. It’s tough to be seen as an expert if you’re spending most of your time as a salesperson. That’s why we help industry experts like you spend less time selling and more time advising by turning you into a trusted subject matter authority.

    We help amplify your influence over a growing audience of magnetically attracted fans who will chase you down instead. Visit to learn more.

    BILL: I want to let you know about some free resources that I invite you to retrieve after you’ve listened to today’s interview. You’ll find checklists guides, videos, and other tools. Simply go to and write this down unless you’re driving.

    So our featured guest on today’s show is Deirdre Van Nest. Founder of Crazy Good Talks. Her website is Deirdre has also come bearing gifts, which we’ll tell you about in just a couple of minutes.

    But Deirdre, one of the struggles many advisors have is figuring out what story to tell.

    I think you kind of gave us that, anything else to add? Any pointers on how to find their story? And then let’s get into a couple of successes that people want.

    DEIRDRE: Okay, great. I will say that the gift that I’m going to give is a story guide. That’ll walk them through how to find their story.

    But in terms of pointers, it’s really making sure the angle of the story is the right angle of the story. So going back to my example, if I told you about the cop on the high-speed chase, I could share that story all day long if I was doing maybe a story about that topic. About high-speed chases. Or about just speeding in general, going through the danger of going through a red light, right? Then that angle makes a lot of sense.

    But the angle of the story that I’m trying to impart with advisors is life can change in a snap. And so you want to help your clients be prepared, and that’s why I’m on a mission to help your clients be prepared.

    So really make sure that whatever story you choose or whatever angle of the story really drives home the point of why you’re on this mission to serve this particular group of people and don’t add anything that’s going to veer them off course and start thinking about something else.

    BILL: Yeah. Perfect. Good. All right. So successes, this person posted on LinkedIn.

    DEIRDRE: Okay. So it’s actually Facebook, which I feel makes it even better.

    BILL: Which is great. And, after you finished telling me, I’m going to talk about an episode where people can learn more about how to do neat things on Facebook, but go ahead and tell this story.

    DEIRDRE: Oh, I want to hear about that episode too. Okay, awesome. So, one of the things that we do when we identify and then we build these personal why stories for advisors. So, we had this group of advisors, 11 advisors, we’d built all their stories. We were all having a meeting about what are you going to do with it now? Because if you sit on it, it does nothing. Right. So we teach them how to put the story to work is the way I put it. These stories are assets. They actually are part of your client relationship and your business development team. And that’s the way you need to start thinking about these stories.

    When you’re telling the right story. This is part of your business development team. So everyone was committing to doing some action. And this one advisor said, “I’m just not comfortable sharing my video yet. I’m just not. I have to like, get there.” I’m like, okay, well what’s one thing you can share? She said I will cut and paste the story and put it on my Facebook.

    And quite frankly, I was thrilled cause it’s at least her doing something, but I didn’t really think that it was going to do anything. I mean, all right, well let’s, let’s do it. I was blown over a Bill because she sent an email to the lead advisor that evening and then he sent it to me and she said within one hour I had three people reach out to set appointments.

    BILL: Wow.

    DEIRDRE: It was insane. So what’s nice about it was a pure prospect just happened to see it. One was a client who was dragging their feet on doing some other things that needed to be done. And then the other was a prospect she had met with prior, who was dragging their feet on taking the next step.

    So it reached three totally different types of audiences that advisors are going after. I just thought that was super exciting.

    BILL: And created action. There’s a lesson right there for her. Hopefully, now she’s telling it to people.

    DEIRDRE: I would hope so. Now, can I share the other story? Cause I love this one too.

    BILL: Yep

    DEIRDRE: Okay. So one of the things, when you know you’ve got the right story and you’ve got it locked and loaded, you have to put it to video. You’ve really got to leverage your story through video and that can go before you in so many situations and actually bring in clients. And we’ve seen that with our clients, but one story, in particular, I love because I’m so close to it.

    So I have a writer on my team who just offhandedly said, “I really need a new advisor.” And I was working with this particular team. I’ve worked with them for years. I love the advisor. So I said, you know, I think that Todd would be perfect for you. Here’s his info, you should reach out to him. And like happens a lot of times when a friend or someone refers someone to their advisor, nothing happened, right?

    So then we were having a team meeting where we were unveiling the videos of the stories we created and I showed Todd’s video and this team member said. “Wait, is that the Todd you told me I needed to reach out to?” And I said, “Yes”, she goes, “You’re right. I do.”

    She reached out to him and ended up being an ideal client for him. And I know she wouldn’t have had she not seen his story on video and Bill, what strikes me about this example is that I was a highly credible source for her. Highly credible.

    BILL: So you think.

    DEIRDRE: So I think Here’s the point. I do believe I’m a highly credible source for her. And sometimes even highly credible sources, they will not take action because I don’t need to be highly credible. The advisor needs to be highly credible. She didn’t need to trust me. She needed to trust him, but the only way to have an experience with him, without having to set the meeting and waste time and blah, blah, blah. It was nothing.

    Now she had this three-minute video of this story. She could experience him and his heart and go, “Yes, that is someone I want to do business with.”

    BILL: Right. Well, I think we’ve driven this point home nicely, and I appreciate you for doing this. I’ve also seen a number of advisors who do put it to video and you’re right. It’s something that a client could even share with a friend before they make an introduction. There are all kinds of ways that can be used. And if you’re story doesn’t attract someone to you then Okay, that’s not the right person for you. You want someone who wants to appreciate you for the reasons you want to be appreciated.

    And we’re not trying to bring everybody in and we’re trying to bring the right people.

    DEIRDRE:  Absolutely.

    BILL: I would not be serving our listeners. If I didn’t ask you to just give us a little info on how you help advisors create these personal why stories. Talk about the gift that you have for them, et cetera.

    DEIRDRE: Yeah. So the gift that we have is a story guide. So basically if you want help and direction on how to find your story, then I’ve created a PDF to help you do that. So you’ll probably link to it I imagine in the show notes, but if you go to it’ll pop up on the homepage there. And then you can just fill in your information and we’ll send that off and email it to you.

    We help advisors in two ways. So Bill for many years, we were purely a what I would call a training organization. So we actually teach advisors how to be, what I call crazy good presenters, giving full-length presentations, how to stand out and engage. And part of that, I would teach them how to create stories and how to teach them how to create and find their why stories.

    And one of the things I was routinely hearing was, “Dierdre like, this is hard. And this is not what I do. I need to be working with clients. And I just, I don’t want this feeling all the time. Can’t you just do it for me?” And for years I said, “No”, that’s not what we do. And then last year a client asked me in April, he’s like, “Please can’t you just do this for me?”

    And I said you know what? Maybe we can. And so we created a whole new service line where we actually now identify, write, and teach advisors how to put your why story to work so it’s an asset in your business. So if you want white glove service, turnkey, want us to do all the heavy lifting for you. It’s a minimal amount of time on your end.

    We would love to do that. And so if you go to, you’ll see a bunch of buttons that say, start a conversation, or a strategy session, we’re actually changing our website. So it might say strategy session. Click on there. You’ll answer a few questions and we can have a free strategy session to see if we’re the right fit for you.

    BILL: Wonderful. So our guest today has been Deirdre Van Nest her company is Crazy Good Talks.

    Deirdre, Thank you so much for being our featured guest on Top Advisor Podcast.

    DEIRDRE: Thank you for having me and thank you for all the great work you’re doing in the industry Bill.

    BILL: Oh, you bet. Thank you. I love it.

    Three action steps for you guys and gals. Check out all the information at Head over to Sign up for weekly tips and all the other good stuff there.

    And if you dare visit And who knows your issue may be something I refer to Deirdre, cause she may be better at it than I am.

    DEIRDRE: And I’ll refer right back if you’re better than me. I like to stay in my lane.

    BILL: Absolutely. Bill Cates here, reminding you that ideas do not make you more successful, only acting on those ideas will bring you all the success that you desire. Thanks for listening.

    Thank you for listening to the Top Advisor Podcast brought to you by ProudMouth’s PodRocket Academy. I encourage you to visit my website, for links to my books, online courses, and to register for the Cates’ academy.

About Our Guest

Deirdre Van Nest doesn’t believe in boring you with a laundry list of credentials. She is the go-to expert for ‘Mission-Driven” financial professionals and entrepreneurs on how to Make An Impact when you express yourself.

Deidre is a top-rated International Keynoter, Trainer, Story Strategist & Artist, and the Creator of the Crazy Good Talks® Blueprint and the Emotionally Engaging Advisor™two practical communication systems that have taught thousands how to capture attention, connect emotionally and Make An Impact.

She is passionate about this work and feels blessed every day to help my clients succeed. On a personal note, Deirdre is an Italian & Irish New Yorker living in Minnesota, where she tries hard not to scare people with her loud voice and enthusiastic hand gestures.

Connect With Deirdre Van Nest:

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About Your Host

Bill Cates, CSP, CPAE, works with established financial advisors to speed up their growth without increasing their marketing budget. Advisors tap into Bill’s proven process to multiply their best clients through introductions from advocates and Centers of Influence (such as CPAs and attorneys), communicate their value proposition more effectively, and create a reputation in a profitable target market. Bill helps advisors move from push prospecting to magnetic marketing – to attract more Right Fit Clients™.

Bill is the author of four best-selling books, Get More Referrals Now, Don’t Keep Me a Secret, Beyond Referrals, and Radical Relevance. Bill is a highly sought-after international speaker and coach, as well as the founder of The Cates Academy for Relationship Marketing™.


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