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Ep. #22 – The 3 Roles Any Entrepreneur Financial Advisor Must Play with Travis Ray Chaney


In business, when you hear someone talk about the CEO’s role in a company, your first thought is that they’re the leader and top decision-maker for the company.

What if we told you that there are two other integral roles in a company that also fall under the CEO umbrella?

In this episode, Referral Coach Bill Cates speaks with Travis Ray Chaney, CEO of Dynamic Directions (D2). Bill and Travis talk about the three essential CEO roles in a company that every entrepreneur financial advisor should know about.

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Bill and Travis discuss:

  • The difference between an entrepreneur financial advisor and a non-entrepreneur advisor.
  • How the three CEO roles contribute to your business growth.
  • What does the concept “Client Experience” mean and why is it so important?
  • Something you can start doing with your clients today to add to their experience, create strong loyalty and make you highly referable.
  • … and much 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 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. You know, before we get started, I want to let you know about some free resources that I invite you to retrieve after you’ve listened to this episode, you’ll find checklists, guides, videos, and other tools just by going to Unless you’re driving, then wait to do it later and pick this up in the show notes. While you’re there, make sure you sign up for our weekly tips. They’re free. We’re always sharing best practices. We’ll notify you of the newest podcast.

    So I’ve known today’s featured guests for gosh, 10, 12, maybe 15 years.

    But you know, I remember when we first met, I actually remember sitting at a table, we were having lunch, maybe there were speakers up there. He asked me about my business and I told him my expertise was in helping financial advisors multiply their best clients through referrals. He said that’s it? That’s all you do? Just referrals?

    And I just kind of jokingly said, “Yep. I’m just a one trick pony.” Right? So fast forward about a week or two, I receive a package from Owensboro, Kentucky, and I’m thinking, “Who do I know in Kentucky?” I opened the box and there was a toy rocking horse about the size of a 20 pound dog give or take with a sign attached that says to Bill Cates, a one trick pony.

    So this guy does have a bit of a sense of humor. Maybe a little rye, but, and he likes to drink rye too, but that’s another topic. Travis, do you remember sending that little gift? The one trick pony pony?

    TRAVIS: I do. I enjoyed meeting you. I thought it was interesting the way you count what you do and how you do it.

    And you’re the one. Pony phony pony. And so one of the things that I like doing is picking up on things like that and finding some creative, humorous, maybe sometimes it’s expensive gift to send, to kind of remind you of our first time together. So.

    BILL: Yep. Well, I’m not sure what happened to that little rocking horse, but it’s stored up here for sure.

    So I want to tell everybody listening a little more about Travis Ray Cheney, sometimes known as T Ray. Travis is the CEO of Dynamic Directions, D2. It’s a coaching and consulting firm. He works exclusively with successful financial advisors, helping them build an extraordinary practice and extraordinary life.

    I just got a message on my mobile phone from one of his daughters. And there’s a little video message that says, you know, what did she say again? Get control of your life?

    TRAVIS: She said, “Bill, get your life together.”

    BILL: Get your life together.

    TRAVIS: That was my 6 year old. I was dropping her off this morning to kindergarten and we were waiting in line and I was telling her about today and she asked about who Bill was.

    And I say “You know honey, you, you tell a lot of people in our family and friends to get their life together. Why don’t we send a nice message to Bill today? Let’s tell him to get his life together.”

    BILL: Yeah, no judgment there though of course.

    TRAVIS: None, whatsoever. Your life is together Bill. Do not listen to the advice of a six year old, do not take that criticism.

    BILL: So just to continue this formal introduction, Travis is a former award-winning financial advisor consistently ranked in the top one and a half percent of advisors in his broker dealer. He’s the author of a book entitled Turbo Growth: Proven Strategies to Create an Extraordinary Life and Financial Planning Practice.

    He has just released his latest book. Hence this interview, the Three CEOs, the Three Most Important Roles Entrepreneurial Financial Advisors Play. I find that title very interesting. We’ll dig into that. Travis lives in Owensboro, Kentucky with his wife, Christie, son Reiland and two daughters, Lucy Jago and Stone, who is now my new friend telling me to get my life together.

    He is also a bourbon enthusiast. And a country music song writer. Maybe we’ll talk about that a little bit later. So Travis Ray Cheney, welcome to Top Advisor Podcast.

    TRAVIS: Well, thank you Bill. It’s an honor and pleasure to be here with you. Like you said, we’ve been friends for over 15 years. We met based on a common coach at the time Dr. Nido Cobain. And since then we’ve done a lot of programs together, stayed in touch to help each other. And I just want to say I really admire what you do, and I’m very fond of how you do it with great integrity, with a focus on excellence. And it’s always fun when we’re together, Bill.

    BILL:  And I must say that Travis is also pretty good cornhole player, he beat me in corn hole one night. And you know, I’m an old pitcher from softball and I thought there’s no way this guy’s going to beat me, but sure enough. So your bio states that you’re a former award-winning financial advisor.

    Tell us a little bit about the former part, former practice, why you stopped. Just a real quick executive briefing into that transition.

    TRAVIS: Sure. So I got in the business about 28 years ago and my business partner, Drew Watson and I started at the same time and we built a fairly credible practice over a five or six year period.

    We had our struggles. In fact, Bill, I almost got fired within six months of the career. You know, this is all about, you got to generate new business. They had these goals out there. Where I think at the time I was at 33% of my goals. And so it was one of those we’re putting you on an action plan, which is a polite way of saying, if you don’t get your life together, as my daughter Stone would say, you’re going to be out of here.

    And so Drew and I, at that point formed a partnership didn’t know him prior to going to work with them at our broker dealer. And we caught up, we met, hit our first year goal. They allowed us to continue on. And then from there, you know marketing was always a strong suit for both of us. We love marketing.

    We got up to a point where we were had about 750 clients each. And at that point, I felt like, wow, we just have too much, we had too much of the wrong clients first and foremost. And so what we did is we hired a coach and a separate consultant for our business. And that’s when I learned real quickly you could do more with less.

    So, I cut my practice in half. 18 months later I doubled it. I had doubled it. I cut it again in half. And about two years later, I had doubled it. And I know that sounds counterintuitive to go from 750 to 375 and 375 down to about 150 and read the double your business.

    But that’s really where it dawned on me, especially in the financial services business, you can’t afford to be everything to everybody. You need to figure out these niches or for those of you like to say it in a fancier way niches. And that’s what I did. And each time I cut down my client base, I grew up exponentially because I was able to focus on delivering a solid client experience that made me that much more referrable plus on my marketing efforts. When I picked up on the books, you sent me, you know, and went to a few of your seminars, I knew how to ask, and I know who to ask. And so what it became much more fun because I was actually working with the people who I wanted to be with.

    But what happened is in the process, my coach came to me. After we had doubled the second time and he said, I’m retiring and you’re going to be my successor. Keyword is you’re going to be my successor. There was no ask. I felt honored. It’s Terry Conti, he was the coach. God bless him. He passed away a couple of years ago. Made a huge impact on my life. But he said to me, “Hey, you’re my best student. You’ve got a knack for coaching. I don’t know if you know this or not. I’d really like to transition you into my role. Let’s see if you like it.” And lo and behold, I fell in love with coaching. More than I did the financial planning and my niche was small business owners and the current broker dealer we were affiliated with and we’re still affiliated was an independent model.

    So we own our own shop. And so it just made sense for me to transition to work in that coaching role. And it’s much more intimate in a coaching role than a financial planning. I’ve had people argue that with me, but I’ve been on both sides. Because of the coaching role, we might spend 50 sessions with one particular client in a year, right?

    And so we get inside their head, we get inside their heart, not just their finances. And so that’s what led to me to transition out from being a top advisor. And I transitioned everything over to my business partner, Drew. We’ve stayed together and he now runs our financial planning practice.

    I’m still involved as a partner. We have two other partners now and we have a footprint and were in Owensboro, Kentucky, Louisville, Kentucky we’re in Brentwood, Tennessee, Columbia, Tennessee. We just opened an office in Harrisburg, Illinois. So it’s been great to have that practice because that’s been.

    my little think tank where we do experiments, so to speak on the consulting side. So I’m grateful that Drew survived all the bruises and the cuts and the punctures from everything that we’ve tried on the practice. But we like to do that before we roll it out to our advisors.

    BILL: It’s your laboratory a little bit, right? You try it out in the laboratory.

    TRAVIS: Yeah. And so it started off with just me and one assistant when I started coaching. We now have over 21 coaches and 10 full-time people supporting our organization, D2.  I think we’re up to about 400 advisors that we coach in about 44 different states. So we’ve got quite a footprint that we’ve built geographically.

    I get up every day and I’m bullish as my coffee mug would say, I’m drinking a cup of Bull-Lish right now. And we just really enjoy what we do. And helping folks build an extraordinary life, and an extraordinary practice. They just have to tell us what extraordinary means.

    BILL: Yep. Gotcha. So extraordinary by their definition, which is great.

    So, all right. Let’s get to the book. It’s called The Three CEOs, and in the subtitle you use the term entrepreneurial financial advisor. So what do you mean by entrepreneurial financial advisor or what makes him or her different than a non-entrepreneurial advisor?

    TRAVIS: Sure. Well, you know, there’s different models in our industry.

    You have financial advisors who work on the employee channel for your bigger broker dealers, or even they work on an employee channel for maybe a small firm, independent. But then you have your I’ll call your independent advisors, the folks who have relationship with broker dealer, but it’s their practice.

    They didn’t get to develop and run it the ways that they want. And so to me, that’s the difference. You know, that entrepreneurial advisor is still a financial advisor, but they had decided to be a small business owner. And so they’ve gone from being a sole proprietor. Who’s only focused on being an advisor to I’m going to build out my own team with my own philosophies, my own culture, my methodologies, and they’re really developing people to extend their value proposition and their client base.

    You know, so if I think about our practice, we have 17 advisors now, we have 10 full-time staff members. And so they’re all an extension of what Drew and I have created over the years. And now we have two of the business partners that have come on as well. And so that’s the difference is just one advisor is just focusing on serving clients, which is great.

    The other one, which is the entrepreneurial advisor, they’re focused on serving clients, but they’re also focusing on building their own business.

    BILL: I suspect that what we’re going to talk about could apply in some degree to any advisor. Cause we all need to think entrepreneurial in some way, we’re responsible for our own success et cetera.

    So why did you write the book? What’s the problem you saw out there that you thought needed fixing?

    TRAVIS: Well, I learned early on as a consultant and we’ve been doing the consulting for about almost 20 years now that when we build things, tools, resources, a white paper, in this case it’s a book, it’s because we’re trying to solve something for an advisor, right.

    And they’ve presented a problem. And so the problem that occurs that we’re really trying to solve is we’re helping these entrepreneurial advisors with some framework around these three different CEO’s and some guidelines to help fill in the blank so they can have clarity around who they want to be. Who do I want to portray our firm to the public, who they want to serve, how they want to serve them, and building this team that is an extension of those philosophies in that culture. So that in the absence of me, for example, or the absence of Drew, our team understands how we think. You know, we have these bracelets. If you remember, years ago, there was a movement around WWJD, What Would Jesus do? So we have these bracelets that, for example, my team has WWTD, What Would Travis Do?

    And that’s that kind of extension, in the absence of Travis, because we have this culture and this was way of doing business. How would I think through this problem, how would I talk to the client about this and so forth? And so that’s essentially what this book is solving.

    The other thing is, when I wrote Turbo Growth about a dozen years ago, that was about the financial advisor side, and really how to get clarity as a financial advisor. And then as we’ve moved forward, in music terms, it’s like we’ve gone from the singer-songwriter who’s on the stage, just playing by himself as the solo practitioner to now we’ve built a large band or an orchestra.

    And what I know is being involved with music, if there’s a couple of guys together, you probably don’t need sheet music. We can all practice come together and really sound pretty good. But when you start getting an orchestra, you’ve got 20, 30, 40 people that are executing an emission. We got to have that sheet music. And that’s a part of what this book provides is the sheet music on these three different roles on how to really get some clarity. So everybody’s falling along the music so that who we are is being presented properly.

    BILL: So, make sense. Let’s drill down a little bit. What are the three CEOs, I guess, what and who are they? And let’s dig into each one a little bit.

    TRAVIS: Sure. Well, the first one is chief executive officer, which is a common term out there.

    The second one is the culture executive officer.

    And then the third one is the client experience officer.

    BILL: All right. So the CEO, the regular CEO, then the culture executive officer, and then the client experience officer.

    So let’s talk a little bit about each one. CEO, chief executive officer starts first. It makes sense. Tell me more about why you lead with that and what that person’s role is.

    TRAVIS: Well, what I found to work with entrepreneurs, one of the reasons why they have ventured out on their own and decided to be a small business owner and be entrepreneurial is they have a way they want to operate. And that way needs to be defined. And as the chief executive officer that starts with your own values, your own philosophies, your own methodologies. So if we’re going to build a firm and you’re the entrepreneur, you know, you’re the starter behind it, you’re the fire behind it. You’re the fuel behind it. Then we need to flush all those philosophies and values and tenants and parental principles and fundamentals that the business is going to follow. And that is the responsibility of the chief executive officer.

    So it starts there with the business. That’s why in the book, that’s where the first several chapters are dedicated to. And we put that first on purpose so that we can flush all those out because when we get to the culture, Which is basically now, how do you create this team that can execute on these values and fundamentals and tenants and principles before we can get to the team, we have to have all those.

    We have to have those ready, and then the team can help us apply that not only to the client experience, but to what kind of environment the team wants to live and thrive in inside this culture. Because if I do a good job of executing on what we might call the D2 way or the Align Wealth Management way, but my team doesn’t, we’ve got a big disconnect, right?

    So if my client deals with me and has a different feeling, when he deals with a team member like Ben, that’s a disconnect, we’re trying to eliminate that, but it all starts with that CEO. So the culture then is the team understanding that on many different levels.

    And then the client experience. I mean, that’s ultimately, that’s the promise you’re making to your clients. It becomes your brand, not just in a digital sense or a visual sense, but how do you want to make people feel when they do business with you? And that client experience has to, there again, take those values that trickles down from the CEO now inside the culture and be conveyed now to the client.

    BILL: Good. Could at some point in a practice that gets a little larger, could the client experience officer, could that role be given to someone else?

    TRAVIS: Absolutely. I mean, I couch it in these three different roles as if we have a smaller business owner who may not have that luxury at this point, whether from a financial standpoint or just a talent pool.

    The reality of it is each business has to have all three. Most of the times the entrepreneur is playing one two or three, mostly three or two and one, but we definitely have a situation like in our partnerships, from teams that we work with where one person will own that one particular role. And so it can be segmented that way. And really in reality, if you’re trying to get scale and leverage, you would want it that way.

    But oftentimes as an entrepreneur is building his business, he’s wearing many different hats. And so we’re trying to stress the importance that those three hats need to be worn by somebody. If it’s you, as you’re building it, that’s fine. Over time, depending on the level of skill you’re trying to achieve, you would want to find other people to wear those different hats.

    BILL: So I want to go back to a word you use kind of quickly in passing, it’s a big word for me. And that’s the word beliefs. And my perspective has always been fundamental to our success is really what we believe and from the beliefs that we hold then give rise to what we’re able to think and put into action, et cetera, et cetera.

    So, talk a little more about the importance of beliefs, why they matter in what you’re talking to the context here and how that translates into the firm’s culture.

    TRAVIS: Great question. So one of our top values at D2 is results. At the end of the day Bill, a financial advisor or practice hire us because they’re looking for better results. That could be something monetarily you know, bottom line. It could be moving up market to attract better clients, more profitable clients. It could be how to streamline their business with systems and process improvement. In other words, not everybody comes to us for the same results, but they are coming to us for results.

    And what I learned in through my coaching training, through getting certifications, working with Dr. Nido Cobain, is that most people think they need to just focus on changing behavior if they want to change results. Which changing behavior is a part of that equation, but if we don’t get the beliefs in alignment with that particular result or that behavior, that needs to be changed. Then the results and behavioral will not be sustainable. There’ll be erratic.

    And so that’s why beliefs are so important so that they become the guiding principle. They become that premise. They become who we are in the wake of trying to change and get different results and adapt new behaviors.

    So, our coaching model is always centered on beliefs first to make sure they’re in alignment with the behavior and the results.

    BILL: I want to just to make it concrete, this is something I talk about a lot. I call it having the referral mindset and that we as humans, we have limiting beliefs, mistaken assumptions. One I see a lot around the referral process is asking for help is a sign of weakness. I see that a lot. That’s usually one that’s formed pretty early. It’s a fairly primal belief. A lot of people don’t always know that they even hold. But if you believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Then guess what? You may not ask for help in any area of your life, like my wife, but that’s another subject.

    But any psychologist will tell you that asking for help is a sign of high ego strength or the willingness to ask for help. And in this case and referrals, we’re asking for help to help others. So when we fare it out, some of these limited or mistaken beliefs than it gives people access to options that they didn’t have before and ways of thinking that they didn’t have before.

    I want to call everybody’s attention real quick, after you’re done with this episode with Travis Cheney go to episode 20 where I interviewed, actually one of Travis’s coaches, Scott Leibfried. Episode 20 where he talks about the culture that he’s built in his own firm and a credo that he uses, if you will, very fascinating. As soon as I talked to the guy, I was speaking at one of Travis’s conferences and he was on the stage next to me. And as soon as he opened his mouth and started talking about what you’ve done around culture, I said, I need to interview that guy for my podcast. So that’s episode 20.

    TRAVIS: And Bill that’s a great Testament right there. Not only for what you’re saying, but you know, Scott is a financial advisor who came to us about four years ago as a client first. And it was doing less than maybe 1.8, 1.9 million in production. Fast forward. He’s on pace for 9 million. And one of the things that we first did is instituted what we’re talking about, is what are our core beliefs behind what is now called Stack Stone? That’s their firm’s name.

    And one of the things that I learned years ago, I’d teamed up with the Ritz Carlton, which is the most award winning luxury brand out there. And they actually have a leadership center that they go out and teach why is the Ritz-Carlton so good? You know, why is it they, when all these words at the highest level serving the affluent. Scott is just so coachable and really has a sense of who he is. So for him to define this and get this emotion for a larger team, it was natural for him. But it is those beliefs. If you listened to that episode, you’ll hear it. That’s been a key driver for Scott’s practice. Making sure everybody understood who they are.

    BILL: And keeping everybody in the same path, if you will, same context.

    One thing I know that as the business leader, the owner, CEO, whatever, we have context that our employees will never, ever have. They just can’t get inside of us in our plans, our goals, our beliefs, all of that stuff. So we always have to be very good at communicating that context and beliefs as part of that. I think.

    So I have a, something I want to run by you. I have kind of a love, hate relationship with this term, client experience, because everybody talks about, “You got to create better client experiences”, right? What is a client experiencing?

    But rarely do I see anybody put any substance behind that. Meaning what creates a great client experience? What do you mean by client experience? So can you speak to that a little bit? Whether you get tactical or not, it’s up to you, I want to put some meat on that bone of this term client experience.

    TRAVIS: Well, I feel for you Bill with your love, hate relationship. I hope you’re talking to somebody about that so you can work that out.

    Well the client experience, I think back to Maya Angelo, she has a great quote. I’m not going to get it exactly right, but it’s something to the extent of “People will forget what you say. They’ll forget what you do. But they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” And to me, that’s the essence of the client experience. It’s really defining when Bill, someone does business with you, even on your side or on our financial planning side or any other business. How do you want that person to feel?

    And that becomes a test as it relates to on all the things you deliver or deliver on a tactical level. Did you deliver it in a way that made them confident? Made them feel special?  Made them feel extraordinary? I’m just putting in words there that I’ve seen practices adopt. And so it starts with that feeling.

    Then it’s looking at all the tactical things that you have to put into a solid relationship, right? At the end of the day, you have to give them solid advice. Right? The advice has to be client centered. You have to show competency, you have to show confidence and all that, but then it’s making sure that as you do that, we help folks build a timeline, a client experience timeline so that whether it’s the client service model and how we might serve them, which would be how often we are going to see them building out robust agendas that are client centered so that when you’re with a client, it’s making sure we’re getting to the things that are substantive defined by them, not just you.

    And then it’s all these things that happen outside of the meetings. It’s the touches, it’s the gifts, it’s the celebrations, it’s the events. We can’t just limit it to,  I’m in a client meeting. They need to hear from us, it’s a part of our branding. It’s part of building loyalty.

    But when you put all that together, that is the client experience and that is set and that sense becomes the promise you’re making to that client. And I learned a long time ago, it’s harder to break a promise than not get to a goal. And so you’re really making this promise to the client. This is who we’re going to be to you. This is what we’re going to deliver. And that to me is the essence of the client experience. And in your world, Bill, you know, it’s really important because. I know this in working with you and working with advisers, people want to have referrals. First thing they need to do is have a referrable client experience.

    They will make themselves that much more magnetic. They’ll have a more pull and a draw to them. If they have something that’s well-defined and they’re executing on a highlight.

    BILL: And another way to think about it is the word remarkable. Right? If you provide a remarkable experience, then therefore it’s worthy of remark

    So this is good. And I know we’re going to get a little deeper on this cause you have a specific thing that you want to talk to our folks about how they can improve their client experience right away. We’ll get that in in a minute. First, I want to take just a very brief 30 second pause for a word from our sponsor PodRocket Academy who makes this podcast possible?

    [SPONSOR MESSAGE] This podcast is sponsored by ProudMouth, the influence accelerators. Tired of chasing potential clients? We help you spend less time selling and more time advising by amplifying your influence over a growing audience of magnetically attracted fans who will chase you down instead. Visit to learn more.

    BILL: Our featured guest on this episode of Top Advisor Podcast is Travis Ray Cheney, CEO of Dynamic Directions, affectionately known as D2 and the author of a brand new book, The Three CEO’s. The Three Most Important Roles, Entrepreneurial Financial Advisors Play. And as I hear you talk about entrepreneurial advisors, the difference, really the things you’re talking about apply to just about everybody and in a lot of ways, maybe not in every single way, but certainly in a lot of ways.

    So, first of all, how do they learn more about the book? The Three CEOs? How do they get a copy? I’m assuming Amazon? Talk to us about that real quick.

    TRAVIS: So it’s available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and it has its own site. It’s the So you can get the book from any of those three different places.

    There’s some different ways you can get the book as it relates to you. If you get some volume, there’s some perks in there for you, not going to tell you about them. You have to go there to find out, but a little intrigued there, Bill, on what else they can get based on how many books they decide to order.

    BILL: Good, And we’ll have this in the show notes as well. Some links, so people can click on those and get there. All right. So we promise that you can give folks listening, at least one thing they can do, I assume pretty much right away or quickly to improve the client experience. What is that thing?

    TRAVIS: So one of the things that is important in any business, specifically in our business, because it’s solely advice, is the ability to interpret the value. And in my opinion, it’s not the client’s responsibility or the prospect’s responsibility to interpret the value. It is yours as the financial advisor.

    So how do you do that? Well, one of the things I think you need to do with existing clients, and here’s the tip, is you need to create what we call euphoric moments. These are the points in time where you’ve delivered value. And it’s simply like this Bill, you and I have been working together for the last five years, I literally go back five years into the relationship and build maybe a spreadsheet or an outline and document all the things that you have done to improve your financial future.

    Now I get it. The advisor probably instigated that they provided the advice, but that’s where you don’t want to come across and say, “Hey Bill, look what I did for you.” No, that’s not client-centric. “Bill. I’m so proud of you. Look at what you’ve done over the last five years. You came to me, you weren’t sure you could retire. Now we have a well-defined retirement. In fact, initially thought it was 62. Now we found out at 60 and look at all the things that you’ve done over the last five years to put yourself in that position to win at age 60.”

    And that’s where you would document all the small things. Even if they increase their contribution by $2,000 a year in pre-tax savings. Let them know they did that and let them know the savings they had.

    Let them know that the nonfinancial items that come up that you’ve helped them with, meaning like you’ve helped with what we call return on emotion. You’ve helped them feel less stressed because we did this, we went to the attorney, we resolved that estate planning issue you had because there was a dilemma there. So you just want to list all of these euphoric moments and give it to them there again, in a client centered way. And then at the end, ask them how they feel about it.

    And most of your best clients are going to say something like this, Bill. “Bill, I couldn’t have done it without you.” And you know, when you receive that kind of feedback, the strength you have in that relationship, they see the value in you. Then I would also follow up and say, “Well, Bill, I just listed all these things that you’ve done. Did I miss any? What else has been valuable on this journey towards your retirement?” Let them talk.

    And so I recommend you do this, you know, first and foremost, if you have never done this, you need to do this as soon as possible. I would incorporate that tip into your meeting prep process.

    So you have that and keep track of all that. And then going forward, there again deliver anything of value, put that in the summary session that you send out to the client or just take that piece and make sure they understand what they did so they understand the value and that’s there again.

    Now you can have a robust client experience. You’re actually feeding them the actual things that come from that. So they’re getting time back to you Bill, when we talk about a referrable experience, now they’ve got their own story to tell. When they go out and talk to other folks and silently market for you.

    So hold on Bill. I love the attention that can I put some attention on you for a little bit?

    BILL: Oh gosh. Sure.

    TRAVIS: But I’ve learned, you never ask a question you don’t know the answer to. I knew you going to say that. So what’s interesting is if you notice the use of technology and a lot of broker dealers out there have gone digital in their client experience, providing opportunities for clients to interact on different platforms.

    Making more information readily available. And they’re also from, it looks like from a marketing or a touch standpoint, they’re making a lot of things automated in hopes that is gonna make that advisor more referrable. And some people even think not only just referralable, they’re going to get referrals just because they’re getting automated messages about specific topics or touting that particular firm.

    And so in your mind, how does that change or does it change your world as it relates to referrals?

    BILL: Yeah, I think actually it’s a trap that we have to be careful with. I’m not saying that we don’t use technology to deliver things that are automated. But let’s understand that people can see it’s automated. They can see that their name has been inserted. So for instance, you may be pulling from a file where the person’s name is says, William, but you call them Bill, but it shows up as William. Right? So people see through that pretty quickly. I’m not saying you can’t do that.

    One kind of neat way to personalize some of this automated is if you look at your client list, a lot of folks will segment A’s, B’s, C’s, things like that. But another way you can think about segmenting is interest, special interest. So you could have a bunch of clients who like cooking or fishing or hunting or golf or wine or whatever it is. Then you can curate some information that just goes out to those people. So what they’re getting is specific to them and you can let them know that, let them know it’s going out, that they’re part of the wine club of your practice, or they’re part of the golf club in your practice, et cetera.

    So that’s the way to do that a little bit to let them know that you’re finding stuff specifically for them because of their interests. But at the end of the day, when it comes to helping people feel handled, taken care of, it really is the human interaction and the conversation.

    And one broker dealer I’ve been talking to a little bit about helping them with this, is their marketing department. All they’re thinking about is these digital messages that advisors can send that promote referrals or introductions, and even ask for referrals and introductions. And I want to tell you that while that might help a little, in terms of getting an into the culture of the relationship, it’s not going to produce results. At some point, you got to talk to people about this, and you got to talk to people about this not just to get a result because rarely are people going to do it from a digital request. I’ve seen that for sure. But also you need to learn about this prospect, then you need to learn about why they thought of them. And how are you going to get introduced to this person? The more you reduce this to a digital nature, the less results you’ll have without question.

    And you know, people feel awkward asking for introductions and all that sort of stuff. And they’re hiding behind the technology and we have to be careful. Whenever I have a client that I’m working with and they want to send this automated thing or this automated thing, like asking for referrals, I say, “It seems like you’re just trying to hide behind a technology when you really just need to get on the phone or get in front of somebody.”

    So yeah, I appreciate you asking that. It as a little bit of a rant I think my side,

    TRAVIS: How do you really feel about that Bill? I’m not sure.

    BILL: Well, I mean, I’ll give you my hierarchy real quick.

    The best way to ask for introductions right? In  person, in the same room, right? No question about that energy. Mono to mono or woman to woman or whatever. So then, zoom is not too bad. As people get more and more used to this, whether it’s zoom or teams or whatever you’re using, people are getting used to that more. So you can do that.

    If you’re going to use an email. For instance, the only way I would ever ask for an introduction with email is if number one, I know the client well. And I know a specific person that I know they know, maybe we’ve even talked about it. And I could say, “Travis, how do you feel about introducing me to George?” Can we talk about that? Can we hop on the phone and talk about it for a couple of minutes? So I might use an email to initiate the possibility, but then I still want to get on the phone and talk.

    So you gotta be careful hiding behind technology.  A lot of people do it with LinkedIn. They’re trying to use LinkedIn to ask for introductions. Be careful. You’re probably not going to have the results that you want. And if there’s anybody out there killing it with this and wants to prove me wrong, I would love to hear from you. And I mean that, cause there are a lot of ways to do this. I’m not going to say that the way I think is the only way. The bottom line is are you producing results?

    So Travis, as we kind of wind up, you know, you’re an interesting guy. You send interesting gifts. I alluded to the fact that you play a little music. Tell us something fun, interesting, unique about yourself. Give us a feel for who is this guy T-Ray?

    TRAVIS: Well I do like to have fun. You know we work hard. We play hard here and you’ve mentioned a couple of my hobbies outside of what I do as a coach, consultant and author. And so I’m a vegetarian.

    BILL: I didn’t know that.

    TRAVIS: Yeah. My favorite vegetable is distilled corn. And so I am a bourbon enthusiast. If you’re living in Kentucky. I am not a vegetarian. If you are, great for you, but look this body was built by beef. I can assure you.

    BILL: Distilled potatoes, distilled corn, distilled rye.

    TRAVIS: But I still, the corn, you know, living in Kentucky, which we produce 95% of the world’s bourbon. I’ve been involved with the bourbon society the last seven or eight years. I have a bourbon mentor, because I believe if you want to get good at something, you should have a mentor in it.

    And so Vince Karatas is my bourbon mentor. In fact, Bill, what was interesting over the pandemic, we were looking for things to do for advisors to bring people together. We held almost 30 virtual bourbon tastings for our advisors, where they contacted us, can you put this together?

    We would bring Vince and I, and talk about bourbon. They would bring people together virtually. And so, I didn’t know at the time when I did it for advisors, just to have fun break the tension, as far as what was going on in the pandemic, that it would evolve to that. So there again, one concept we talk about in The Three CEO’s is intentional congruence.

    I took something I’m passionate about outside of work and integrated into work. Because I can tell you it wasn’t difficult for me to show up to a bourbon tasting.

    BILL: Well, you know, for events if people are looking for ideas for events, it’s great because if you’re good at, golfers like to play with good golfers or if you’re good at fishing or hunting or bourbon or cooking, build a little bit of your business around that. But people love that.

    So you clearly, Travis, you drove your clients to drinking.

    TRAVIS: There is only coffee in this mug my friend.

    BILL: Travis Ray Cheney, firm is called Dynamic Directions or D2. There’s a link to his website in the show notes. Travis Ray, thanks so much for being today’s featured guest on Top Advisor Podcast.

    TRAVIS: Hey Bill, I appreciate your friendship, the colleague relationship we have, and it was an honor to be with you today. Always fun when we get together. So I wish you and all your listeners and viewers great success. And if there’s anything that we can do for you, we’d be glad to connect with you.

    BILL: Wonderful. Thank you. So if you haven’t already head over to, sign up for our weekly tips, access a ton of free guides, scripts. You’ll be notified when the next podcast comes out, et cetera.

    So this is Bill Cates, the one trick pony or one trick phony, and maybe a little bit of both, I guess, reminding you that ideas do not make you more successful, only acting on those ideas will lead to the success you desire. Thanks for stopping by Top Adviser Podcast.

    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

Travis is the CEO of Dynamic Directions (D2), a coaching and consulting firm working exclusively with successful financial advisors – helping each one of them build an extraordinary practice and an extraordinary life and practice for financial advisors.

Travis is a former award-winning financial advisor who consistently ranked in the top 1.5% of financial advisors at his broker-dealer. Travis is also the author of Turbo Growth: Proven Strategies to Create an Extraordinary Life and Financial Planning Practice, and has just released his latest book: The 3 CEOs – The Three Most Important Roles Entrepreneurial Financial Advisors Play.

Travis lives in Owensboro, Kentucky, with his wife Christy, son Ryland, and two daughters Lucy Jagoe, and Stone. He is a bourbon enthusiast and a country music songwriter.

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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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