Anyone who knows Marcus T. Henderson Sr., RFP, MRFC, knows that he does not lack for personality. And the 28-year MDRT member from Brentwood, Tennessee, is extremely forthcoming that his team knows he enjoys seeing clients and prospects and … that’s it.
“Everything else has to be done by someone around me. They have to understand what has to be done after I’ve opened up a case,” Henderson said.
In other words, during a time of major transition, such as the recent period of uncertainty around the world, Henderson specializes in communicating with clients. Consequently, he’s very thankful that he is not the one managing the logistics of converting the office to operate remotely and establishing processes for this new environment.
Those tasks fall on Todd A. Turner, who is Henderson’s managing director/chief operating officer and very much the yin to the advisor’s yang. This is actually Turner’s second time working in the office; the first time he spent six years as vice president. Henderson notes that, at the time, Turner was trying to be Henderson in terms of production, and Henderson was attempting to be Turner in terms of technical and logistical capabilities.
Years after Turner left, Henderson found himself overworked, straining to do organizational and hiring things that didn’t come naturally to him. At the recommendation of a colleague, he decided to find someone with a technical mind to do the things that were holding him back from exponential growth. That person wound up being Turner, whose New Orleans-based company had just moved back to Nashville.
“When we got back together in 2009, we made a promise to each other: ‘I’ll go out and be the best Marcus I can be, and you come in and be the best Todd you can be,’” Henderson said. “If you get the business,” Turner assured him, “I’ll make sure we keep it in house.”
Turner went to law school but never took the bar exam, instead becoming a financial advisor. His legal thought process and analytical mind has been essential for Henderson, who notes that a person in this role could also come from engineering or a similar field.
Giving clients both sides
With clients, Turner provides a stabilizing balance to the practice. After a client met with both Henderson and Turner, she exclaimed, “I feel like both sides of my brain just got massaged!”
“That is what we strive to do — leave the client feeling good,” Henderson said. “Clients buy through emotion but justify through facts. I do the emotion, and he does the facts.”
Just as a car company utilizes the “turnover,” or the process of introducing customers to more than one person at the dealership, Henderson wants clients to meet the different personalities in the office so there are more opportunities to establish a connection. Maybe someone will hit it off with Henderson, or with Turner, or discover that they go to church with one of the other staff members.
“We want the client to become sticky to our firm,” Henderson said. “We need to have something over and above just investments and life insurance that makes them stick with us. Clients stick to personality and how they feel in your presence.”
Handling the office
With staff, Turner leads meetings, keeps everyone on track and takes ownership of hiring. The latter role became Turner’s when Henderson realized Turner had better instincts when assessing résumés and matching candidates, not just engaging personalities, to fit the role.
When Henderson wanted to hire someone he thought had a lot of experience and was therefore worth her asking price, Turner disagreed, believing the candidate was someone who’d remained in the same position for too long, received cost-of-living increases and had not truly earned her inflated salary. She lasted just six months in the practice, and Henderson saw that he should step back on the hiring process.
It was Turner who two years ago said the office needed to switch from desktops to laptops to be prepared to work remotely if necessary (though the expectation was bad weather, not a pandemic).
During the current period of unrest, Turner was the one who helped set up the nine-person staff (which handles 500 clients, including dentists, physicians, clergy members, retirees and local businesspeople) on the Microsoft Teams chat platform. He is the one who is staying organized to ensure that all practices of sharing and evaluating files are fulfilled, with easily trackable documentation for compliance purposes.
While Henderson admits he sometimes struggles to get his day started and to even know what day it is during this unprecedented time, Turner is as consistent as a metronome.
“I work in a world of chaos; I thrive in it and I appreciate change,” he said. “Todd, on the other hand, maintains the effective balance necessary to make obscurities concrete. He is the firm’s linchpin and holds everyone and everything in place.”