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Every financial advisor I’ve met shares a similar personality trait. This personality trait is the lifeblood of your business. But it’s also the downfall of your marketing efforts.

What’s this personality trait?

Analytical thinking! You need to think analytically to best serve your clients. But it also causes your marketing to fall on deaf ears.

In this episode, you’ll discover how your analytical mind sabotages your marketing. And how a simple mindset shift can make every marketing campaign more profitable (and fun).

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The cold, hard truth about why 90% of financial advisors suck at marketing (and how to fix it) (2:20)
  • Why starting a podcast will devour your time and money without resulting in new clients (and a simple tweak for using your podcast to magnetize your ideal clients) (2:59)
  • How to improve every marketing campaign you run by studying water (3:19)
  • The counterintuitive reason your analytical mind makes marketing almost impossible (even if it helps you serve your clients) (4:07)
  • Why a mediocre LinkedIn page converts at a higher rate than an amazing profile (4:45)
  • How worrying about your marketing metrics sabotages your results (10:49)
  • Why the economics of being a financial advisor gives you an unfair marketing advantage (13:04)

If you’re looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, sign up for James’ brand new webinar about how financial advisors can get more clients with email marketing.

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today.

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/Coaching and pick up your free 90 minute download called “5 Keys to Success for Financial Advisors” when you join The James Pollard Inner Circle.

Discover how to get even better at marketing yourself with these resources:




Read Full Transcript

You're listening to “Financial Advisor Marketing”—the best show on the planet for financial advisors who want to get more clients, without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal.

James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisors grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard.

James: Financial advisors, I don't have Mini Notes or anything for this episode because I just want to speak from the heart and tell you like it is. I love financial advisors, obviously. I’ve built an entire business designed to serve them. I talk with them all day long. I have the Inner Circle Newsletter, over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching. Advisors have called that the best business-building information in the entire world. I'm incredibly grateful for that. You have no idea how grateful I am. [00:57.5]

Because I help advisors the way I do, I can't help but notice certain commonalities or personality traits that advisors have. That's part of what I do. I figure out what traits predict success versus those that predict failure, and what I'm about to tell you is incredibly important. It can make all the difference for you, if you take it to heart. A big part of what makes successful financial advisors is analytical thinking.

Analytical thinking is all about deconstructing things, taking things apart, seeing the parts that make up the whole. For example, someone's financial picture, the whole, can be chopped up into its parts. These are things like 401(k)s, IRAs, income, budgets, estate plans, insurance, mortgages, taxable accounts, and more. These are all the parts that make up the financial picture.

Financial advisors have a gift for taking things apart. They can take someone's income and pick it apart easily. They can say things like, “These dollars should go here. These dollars should go there,” and dictate a behavior plan that, if followed, will make work optional. It will build a nice nest egg, whatever the person's goal is. You need income to accomplish financial goals most of the time and financial advisors help with that. [02:10.3]

But financial advisors struggle with synthetic thinking. As opposed to analytical thinking, synthetic thinking is being able to understand how the parts work together. One of the things I stress all the time is that you should have multiple marketing strategies, but I think it goes over a lot of people's [heads]. Not think, I know it goes over a lot of people's heads because they can't think synthetically. And I love you. I'm saying this with love. This is not me being mean. This is not me picking on you or whatever. I really do care about you, but a lot of people who are listening to this, you cannot think synthetically.

For example, I see a lot of people starting podcasts. Podcasts are all the rage right now, or at least they, they were in 2021 and they're still the rage in 2022, and I think to myself, Why? Why are you starting a freaking podcast? There are so many other things you could do, and if you were going to put all of your effort into one thing, it should not be a podcast. Podcasts suck compared to other marketing strategies. But guess what? When you combine podcasting with a few other strategies, the strategies together tend to work really well. [03:19.0]

The definition of the word synthesis is all about combining ideas to form a system. It's a combination of things. In science synthesis is what forms chemical compounds. Water is a compound. It is a synthesis, a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. The analytical thinker will say, “We need more hydrogen” or “we need less oxygen,” but all the tinkering in the world with those individual elements, I'm talking about individual elements now, messing with those, moving them around, getting more, getting less will never make water. It will never happen. Water will never exist until there is a synthesis of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. That is why water is H2O. It is the magic stuff that comes from synthesis. [04:07.2]

In the marketing world, financial advisors will view their marketing strategies as being separate entities. They view them like, this is hydrogen, this is oxygen, and never the twain shall meet. They have LinkedIn over here, they have a website over here, and they're not really talking to each other, and it's just like hydrogen and oxygen, okay? If they don't meet, the magic doesn't happen. You don't create something greater than the sum of its parts. That's how analytical thinking can hurt you.

I love analytical thinking. I think analytically all the time. It is a skill I’ve personally sought to develop in myself, but you cannot have analytical thinking alone and you can't have it without synthetic thinking to balance it out. Let me put it to you this way. A mediocre LinkedIn profile that is connected to something like a website and an email autoresponder sequence that follows up automatically will perform much better, much better than an amazing LinkedIn profile by itself.

Having that hydrogen over here by itself, having your oxygen over here is never going to create water. Multiple marketing strategies create magic. It does it through synthesis. It does not do it through analytical thinking and tinkering, and spending all your time fretting about how to make one thing better. [05:17.6]

Now, am I saying not to make things better? Of course, not. You want to make your LinkedIn profile better, but you also want to make your website better, but you want to make the connection between the two stronger. That is synthesis.

Another trait financial advisors have is that they’re numbers people. I love that, I'm a numbers person myself, but sometimes being a numbers person can sabotage your marketing efforts. Let me explain. I would say, maybe two, three, four, sometimes five times a week, a financial advisor will ask me some variation of this question. What number should I expect for something? What is the average landing page conversion rate? What is the average cost per click? What is the average connection-acceptance rate on LinkedIn? What is the average delivery rate for a direct mail or what is the average response rate for a direct mail? What is the average for this? What's the average for that? What's good for this? What's good for this? I get these questions. [06:09.2]

Then, first I wonder why the advisor asking the question is so obsessed with average. Why worry about what the average is? But I understand, they have this need for a number. There's this urge to compare yourself with other people. I get it. I fall victim to that trap, too. But, and I mean this sincerely, who cares, I wish more people understood that the metrics, the average metrics. What's good for this? What's the average for this? What's the average Facebook click rate? What is the average click-through rate? What is the average cost per click? What is the average blah, blah, blah? It's not as important as the number one thing—are you making money or are you not?

What if you had a terrible click-through rate, but you were making money hand over fist? Would you turn off the ad because of the click-through rate? Let me say that one more time. If you had a terrible click-through rate way below average, like you are terrible, it's just not working as well as average, but the advertisement was making money, you were profitable, you were laughing to the bank, would you turn the ad off because of the terrible click-through rate, because your metrics were not average? Hmm, no. [07:19.4]

What if you were losing money on a marketing campaign, but the metrics were great? You're about to go bankrupt, but at least you have good metrics, right? Hmm. Now, I know this might seem sarcastic, but I want you to think about it. Really let this sink in. At the end of the day, does it really matter? No.

Now, with that said, having some sort of metric can be helpful, but the metrics should be yours. If you're tracking metrics, they should be your metrics. They come from you and your business. Let me explain this. Let's say you have 10 different online ad campaigns running right now and you know that all of your most profitable ad campaigns were getting clicks for less than $3, and only one out of your 10 ad campaigns is below that threshold. [08:08.5]

That doesn't necessarily mean the campaign is a winner, but it does mean that the other ones are most likely to be losers. I hope that makes sense. It's like this. All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Your metrics can help you figure out what to cut.

If we're being real, a lot of people's metrics suck because they don't put in the work. Imagine it's your first date doing something. You can't compare yourself to someone who has been doing it for five or 10 or 20 years. There's an entry-level salary and then there's an average salary. If you're expecting the average salary for your entry-level job, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

I see this with financial advisors who are running webinars, for example. It's their very first webinar and they’ve never done one before, and they say, “What is the average attendance rate? What is the average show-up rate? What is the average replay rate?” Oh my God, dude, chill. This is your first webinar, okay? This is your first day on the job. If you you're not average, that kind of makes sense. Just like, if you show up to a job, it's your first day, you're fresh out of college and you get the entry-level salary, and you look at your salary and you're like, Gasp, why is my salary not average? Hmm, it's because it's your first day. [09:17.8]

Hey, financial advisors. If you'd like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James' monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, “The James Pollard Inner Circle”. When you join today, you'll get more than $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.

Also how you conduct your business matters a lot. For example, I don't really like lead generation companies, but I will admit that they get some unfair criticism. I will say it, I’ll go on record, lead generation companies get unfair criticism. People will blast them and they will say, “Oh, this company didn't work. They didn't give me any new clients,” but really it was the financial advisor who didn't work. [10:05.7]

The financial advisor didn't follow up, didn't ask good questions, didn't qualify the prospective clients, basically didn't do anything to warrant the prospective clients saying yes, so it's wrong of that advisor to complain. Some people are going to listen merely because that advisor has an opinion, so if the advisor goes out and says, Oh, that lead gen company doesn't work. They blew all my money and I didn't get anything back, financial advisors are going to be influenced by that advisor's opinion and they're going to make decisions merely because that advisor said something, and they're going to be influenced by someone who did not put in the work. Their vision is tinted. It just looks like you put on those drunk goggles, okay. It's not reality. It just looks like you've been drinking. It's not real, though, so your perception has been influenced. [10:49.8]
What's even scarier is that the averages can anchor you. In marketing, there's something called anchoring. If I say like 3,000, and then I ask you a question like, How far is it from here to this tree? and I ask you, How many feet? you're likely to give me a higher number than what it really is because I’ve anchored you to 3,000, or if I ask you how much the average blue whale weighs and I anchor you with the number of 52, you're going to give me a lower number than what a blue whale actually weighs. That's anchoring, okay?

The averages can anchor you and, like I said, for both good and bad. If you're below the average, you can get discouraged and that can sabotage you, because if you look at the average click-through rate, and let's just say, it's 4%—it's not, but let me just give you that example—and your click-through rate is 2%, you're like, Oh, no, I'm half as good or half as bad, and I'm not doing that, this is terrible, and you start to get discouraged. If you're above average, you can get comfortable and that can sabotage you, too. You can stick in your comfort zone. You don't improve or you don't have that desire anymore. [11:56.1]

I don't want to make you think that you need to lose sleep over average marketing metrics. Yes, metrics are important and you should track your metrics, but what someone is doing in Timbuktu has no relevance to you whatsoever. It does not make a difference. It would be like asking, what is the average income of a firefighter? It doesn't matter. You would start with things like, where are you? How many years of experience do you have? I googled it before the show and I found that, in the United States, the average firefighter makes between $28,000 to $64,000 per year. That is a huge range and it is not helpful at all.

If I tell you that the average cost per click across all LinkedIn ads is $5, will that change anything about your marketing strategy? Will that magically make your ads work better? No. You are competing with the person in the mirror. The number one question is this: are you making money? If you're running ads right now and you ask me like, if you're running ads on LinkedIn and you say, Hey, what is the average cost per click on LinkedIn? and I tell you, Hmm, $5, nothing has changed. Nothing, nothing at all, not a gosh darn thing. [13:04.3]

Financial advisors, I love you. I love you so much, but you kill me with this dumb stuff. You say you don't want to spend $500 to acquire a client, but then you turn right around and charge $3,000 per financial plan and have recurring revenue on top. What in the world? It's exhausting. I could see it, if you spend $500 and only made 250. That would be bad, but your economics are set up in such a way where you can make it work. Other businesses do not have these economics. Do you understand how blessed you are, how fortunate you are to be in a space where this can work? You should be grateful. I'm not even going to go down the whole gratitude trap, but you should be very, very grateful. Other businesses do not have those economics.

I'm going to give you an average here. Okay, ha, ha, ha, let's have our little laugh. I'm going to give you an average and I'm talking averages don't matter. In the ecommerce space, I googled this as well, the average profit margin is right around 10%. These people, if they are average, I'm assuming that they're average, they have to watch their ads like a hawk, because one small change can make the difference between being profitable and burning money. Financial advisors, for the most part, do not have that problem. [14:11.2]

Now, am I saying to be reckless with your resources? Absolutely not. I am not the type of person to be wasteful or to be sloppy merely because economics allow it. I can pinch a penny so hard that Abraham Lincoln will shed a tear. I'm not competing with other people. I'm competing with myself. I'm improving my business' economics. If I can make $100 from an advertising campaign, I can crank it up to $150, or at least I can try to. Then if I get to $150, I can try to crank it up to $200. Other people's averages mean nothing, nothing at all.

Teddy Roosevelt has that famous quote where he says that comparison is the thief of joy, and let me tell you, a lot of you are letting your joy get stolen from right under your noses because you're comparing yourself to some meaningless statistics. [14:57.1]

Again, here's something another average I googled. The average CEO of a Fortune 500 company makes $12.3 million per year. Why aren't you making that? Are you going to beat yourself up because you don't make that much? Why not? You're both earning money, right? When you ask me about advertisements or email or webinar stats like, What does the average show-up rate for a webinar? Okay, if I give you a number, what does that change? If you are way below this income level, you're both working for income, just like if you ask about webinar stats, you're both running webinars.

If you ask about direct mail stats, I give the number to you from people who are running direct mail campaigns just like you, you're both trying to earn money. How come you don't beat yourself up over the CEO's income, but you beat yourself up over your marketing metrics? They literally do not matter. Run your own race. Focus on you.

Let me try to explain it this way. The S&P 500 is the benchmark upon which a lot of people compare themselves and their investment performance. Does that bother you? Does it bother you when a client asks why he or she isn't beating the S&P or, worse, why he or she is lagging the S&P? What do you tell that person? [16:07.7]

You tell him or her that you created an investment plan based on his or her goals and that you're sticking to the plan, right? Your, quote-unquote, “investment plan” is to run a profitable business, to become a better person, to help other people become better versions of themselves, to take care of your family, to leave a legacy. Okay? That is your investment plan. Just like if someone's goal is capital preservation, your goal is to preserve the capital, not keep up with the S&P 500. I hope that makes sense.

I know I'm not the best teacher in the world. I'm a marketer. I'm a go-getter, ambitious. I'm not a teacher, but I'm trying my hardest to explain this concept to you. Imagine you have a client who is worth $10 million and is interested in capital preservation. What if I went up to that client and I said, “You know, the S&P 500 has averaged a historical return of 10% per year”? It would be like speaking gibberish. It's meaningless, because it has nothing to do with the client's goals. So, please don't get caught up in chasing averages. Keep your head down and do the work that actually matters, growing your business and taking care of your people. [17:19.7]

Also, if you're an analytical thinker, spend some time googling how to improve your synthetic thinking skills. That's a takeaway for you. I know people want takeaways. They want homework. They want stuff to do. They want little nuggets of value from podcasts. There you go. Learn how to become a better synthetic thinker. I'm not even joking, it would change your life. It can help you run a better business. I mean that sincerely. If you're a strong analytical thinker, you need to balance it out with a little bit of synthesis.

With that said, I’ll catch you next week. [17:49.4]

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