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Success is not an accident. It’s the result of countless conscious decisions, daily disciplines, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

The cold, hard truth is that step-by-step guides, shortcuts to success, or anything else peddled by lazy marketers won’t magically make you successful. But many financial advisors fall victim to these claims, shooting themselves in the foot instead of achieving real success in this industry.

But that ends today.

In today’s show, I’m sharing some of my best advice to help you succeed as a financial advisor based on having more than 10,000 conversations with ultra-successful advisors, moderately successful advisors, and unsuccessful advisors.

You might not like hearing each piece of wisdom I drop today, but it will help you achieve unusual success in your financial advising business.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The powerful “Amplifier” marketing strategy for filling your calendar with red, hot leads who are ready to buy (1:57)
  • How to adapt to the ever-changing digital marketing landscape without jeopardizing your entire financial advising business (2:31)
  • Would you rather work 80 hour weeks and neglect your family than ask for help? You need to listen to this… (5:48)
  • How needing control and predictability in your financial advising business puts it in an early grave (9:20)
  • The “Traits over Tactics” secret for succeeding in the financial advice industry despite how many changes come over the next few decades (11:36)
  • 6 of the top traits the most successful financial advisors have (and how to build them if you’re missing any) (11:51)
  • The invisible “Time Debt” trap unsuccessful financial advisors fall into which slowly erodes your wellbeing, productivity, and livelihood (18:24)

Want to watch some of my appearances on other people's YouTube channels and listen to me as a guest on other people's podcasts? Head over to https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/media

Want access to my 57 favorite financial advisor marketing ideas? Download the free PDF at https://theadvisorcoach.com/57mt

Want to become an expert at niche marketing and put growing your business on “easy mode?” Then join my niche marketing program here: https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/niche.html

Need help getting more clients as a financial advisor? I created a free, 53-minute video outlining the steps to my “CLIENT Method,” which helps financial advisors land more clients. Watch the video before I take it down here: https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/theclientmethod.html

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.

Want to transform your website into a client-getting machine? Go to https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/website to get The Client-Getting Website Guide.

Want a masterclass training in running effective Facebook Ads? Head to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/ads-training.

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: Welcome to Part 2 of what I’ve learned from 10,000 conversations, or, really, 10,000-plus conversations with financial advisors. I say 10,000-plus because I’ve had far more than 10,000 conversations, because I’ve been writing my Inner Circle Newsletter for six years now and Inner Circle members get direct email access to me for any questions they have. If they have marketing questions, they can email me and get a response typically within 24 to 48 hours. That alone is worth the price of admission. I haven't even gotten to the bonuses yet. I haven't even gotten to the actual newsletter yet. Just the email access alone is worth the price of admission. [01:06.3]

Alas, as we've discussed in the last episode, lots of people don't think that way. They don't think in terms of ROI or productivity, and that's one of the reasons they get the results they do.
In last week's episode, I ended by talking about how having multiple marketing strategies is the Holy Grail of all marketing advice, because it can allow you to create systems, get in front of more prospective clients, and improve your conversations, because it allows for you to follow up effortlessly. I have a lot more I want to tell you, so let me just get started.

Just as diversification is a cornerstone principle in investing, the same holds true for marketing. Relying on a single marketing strategy is like putting all of your investments and all of your money in one stock. It's risky and it doesn't leverage the full potential of the market. By diversifying your marketing strategies, you're not only spreading the risk, but you're also tapping into the various channels where your potential clients might be. You're going to get a return from the other channels as well. [02:08.0]

When you employ multiple marketing strategies, think about this, they don't just work in isolation. They can complement each other. They can amplify each other. For instance, a prospective client might read your blog post, then see your post on LinkedIn and, finally, subscribe to your email list. Each of those touch points reinforce your brand and your message, making it more likely they'll take that desired action, which is setting an appointment with you.

Plus, the digital landscape has ever evolving. Stuff has changed. Google has changed. Facebook has changed. Twitter changed to X. What works today might not be as effective tomorrow. By having multiple marketing strategies in place, you're better positioned to adapt to those changes. If one channel faces challenges or becomes less effective, you have others to fall back on.

Imagine if a financial advisor went all in on Clubhouse. Do you remember when some of the marketing coaches, consultants and gurus were talking about how you had to be on Clubhouse? I do. I remember that. Don't let them forget either. Don't let them forget the bad advice they gave you. Because what did I say? What did James say? James said Clubhouse will likely fizzle out. And what happened? It fizzled out. [03:17.0]

I was objectively right and other people were objectively wrong. If you listened to them and went all in on Clubhouse, you would have poor results. If you listen to James, and you did multiple marketing strategies and you diversified, even if you went to Clubhouse, you wouldn't be affected nearly as much.

Additionally, different clients have different preferences. While some might prefer reading in-depth articles on your website, others might be more inclined to engage with a short post on LinkedIn or they might appreciate a well-crafted email. By being present in multiple channels, you cater to a broader audience and you can tailor your approach based on the platform. What you do in an email can be different from what you do on LinkedIn. What you do on your podcast can be different from what you do on your YouTube channel. But you're using multiple marketing strategies. [04:01.8]

And this is another huge reason why you want to embrace this—using multiple marketing strategies also provides you with a wealth of data. I'm a data nerd, I love looking at numbers, I love quantifying things, and even though I know that not everything can be quantified, you can gauge which strategies are more effective than others. Just the numbers can be a proxy for what you want to do, but you can see where most of your leads are coming from. You can see where you might need to tweak your approach. You can see what you might want to cut out entirely. This continuous feedback loop, it allows for constant refinement and improvement, and that alone makes it worthwhile.

Now, let me get into the next thing that I’ve learned from 10,000-plus conversations with financial advisors, which is that most people do not ask for help. Now, you might be thinking, James, obviously a lot of people are asking for help, if you've had 10,000-plus conversations over the years. But truth be told, fewer than 5% of my newsletter subscribers are asking me questions on a regular basis. [05:02.0]

That's a little strange to me figuring it's a privilege they're paying to have. If I were a subscriber to my own newsletter, I would use it. I would ask maybe one question every month or every two months. I would think about the biggest problem I had in my business and I would say, Hmm, maybe I should get a fresh pair of eyes on this. But very few people ask me questions, and that's out of people who are already doing well and out of people who are already investing in themselves. I can't even imagine how low it might be for people who never invest in themselves to begin with.

The advisors who do ask me questions, though, they tend to be top tier, top of the line, cream of the crop. Every so often, I’ll look at their websites, their social accounts. I’ll get on their email list using an email so they don't know it's me, and I'm amazed at how well they're doing and how much they're crushing it.

Let me let you in on a little secret here. The more I study the Bible, the more I'm beginning to think that life is just one big test to see if you're willing to ask for help or not. Are you willing to humble yourself and accept a gift? Can you accept something that another person is willing to give you? Can you put yourself out there and let others know you need them? I certainly can. [06:13.7]

Look, I have no problem asking people for help. Do you know why? Because I'm goal-oriented. If it can help me reach my goals, I'm all over it. I'm all over it like white on rice, baby. I won't let my ego get in the way. In fact, I did an entire podcast episode about how people let their egos get in the way and sabotage them. It's titled, “Ditch your ego,” and I’ve been told it's one of the best podcast episodes advisors have ever heard in their entire lives.

The ego can be a significant barrier to personal and professional growth. It tells us that we should know everything, “We’ve got this,” “We’ve got it covered,” and it tells us that asking for help is a sign of weakness. It's a sign of incompetence. But the most successful individuals across various fields recognize that continuous learning and growth often involves seeking guidance. They prioritize their goals and their growth over their egos. [07:07.1]

It's a curious paradox. It really is. The people who are often most in need of help are the least likely to seek it, and those who are already on the path to success recognize the value of external perspectives and they're not afraid to ask for guidance. This isn't just about financial advice, either, and it's not just about marketing. It's a universal truth that applies across various facets of life.

There's an old saying, and you've probably heard this before, it was a Kenan and Kel movie back in the day—I think it was—that two heads are better than one. By seeking other perspectives, you're not just getting answers. You're getting a broader view. You're getting someone else's opinion, a different perspective, and different people bring different experiences and insights to the table. You're going to collaborate and collaboration can lead to a whole bunch of innovative solutions that you might not think of by yourself. It's just incredible what you can get when you ask for help. [08:00.4]

The next thing I’ve learned is that unsuccessful financial advisors are more likely to want step-by-step instructions. This is something I’ve noticed beyond the newsletter, because I have more than a dozen other products for financial advisors—you can go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/products to view them all—and I’ve definitely seen how small-thinking financial advisors typically want step-by-step instructions for everything.

I could say, “Look, I try to get 10,000 steps per day,” and a financial advisor would say, “Oh, do you have a detailed resource on how I can achieve 10,000 steps per day?” I'd be like, Look, you know that thing where you put one foot in front of the other. You should do that, right? And then do it 9,999 more times. That's the detailed resource, okay? There's not a step by step for everything.

Now, of course, there are certain areas where having detailed instructions is practical and helpful. For instance, I wouldn't want to bake a cake without instructions. I wouldn't want to reverse sear a steak. If I'm going to cook a ribeye to perfection, which is medium rare for everyone out there and it's just not well-done—if you like well-done, please stop this podcast right now and leave. It's medium rare—I'd like to know the exact temperature. I'd like to know how long to cook it, how long to sear it, and so on. I would not just wing it. I would want instructions. [09:20.7]

A common misconception, especially among newer financial advisors or those struggling to find their footing, is that a simple A-to-Z guide will give them the roadmap to success and then giving them everything. It's like they're hoping to assemble an IKEA shelf. Slot A and Slot B, screw this into place and, boom, instant success. Unfortunately, there aren't really any step-by-step instructions for building a successful business.

So, why this fixation on step-by-step instructions? I've thought a lot about this and I think, at its core, it's about control and predictability. The idea of having a detailed, step-by-step manual or guide, it can provide a comforting illusion of control in a world that's uncertain. [10:10.0]

Let's take the ribeye example. When you're cooking, precision is everything, exact temperatures, timing and techniques. That can mean the difference between a juicy steak and a leather boot. You have a recipe and the end goal is tangible. It is direct and it is visual. You can cut into the steak. Is it medium-rare or is it well-done? There is an objective answer, and having that recipe or the instructions, it is reassuring.

However, unlike cooking, business is far less predictable. Business isn't a steak or a cake. There's no single recipe for success that everyone can follow to get the same result. This is because businesses, especially in the financial advice industry, operate in dynamic environments. Prospective clients, their needs change. Regulations get updated. Markets fluctuate and technology evolves. A static step-by-step approach would leave you woefully unprepared for these shifts. And guess what? I didn't even mention marketing. I didn't even mention LinkedIn or email, or webinars or your website, any of that stuff. [11:13.04]

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.

So, stuff is changing. Success, especially in a field as complex and multifaceted as financial advice, leans more on traits than tactics, because if you have the right traits, then you can adapt your tactics to whatever comes your way. Here's some key attributes successful financial advisors cultivate. The very first one, I love this one. This is the one that I stress. You’ve got to have this one if you're going to subscribe to the newsletter. It’s independent thinking. [12:01.6]

Successful advisors aren't willing to be spoon-fed information. They seek out knowledge. They analyze it. Then they apply it in innovative ways. They can ask themselves, “Does this apply to my situation? Does this make sense? Can I apply it? Or if I can’t apply it, how can I adapt it so I can?”

The next trait is open-mindedness. Look, like I said, stuff is ever-evolving. An open mind allows you to adapt, embrace new technologies and always be on the lookout for better ways to serve clients. Resilience is another trait. Stuff is going to suck sometimes. There are going to be challenging clients. There are going to be hurdles you've got to overcome. Perseverance during these times is critical.

Willingness to seek help is another one. We talked about this, nobody has all the answers. The best advisors know when to consult with colleagues, seek help from people, or even invest in further education if that's what it requires. If it requires you to pony up a little bit of money, then so be it.

Experimentation is another good trait. Sometimes you have to take risks. In marketing, this is called an A/B test. You want to see, does B outperform A? And guess what? If B outperforms A, then you can use B and your marketing from now on. Then you can conduct a B/C test where you're trying to see if C outperforms B. You have to constantly improve and you do that through experimenting. [13:16.8]

While step-by-step guides have their place. The irony here is that by relying solely on them, you might miss out on developing the very traits that breed success in the long run. If you're always guided, you never learn to navigate on your own, and in the world of financial advice and financial advisor marketing where no two businesses are the same, no two client portfolios are the same, no two situations are the same, navigation skills are more important than step-by-step instructions.
In essence, what I'm trying to say here is that the road to success is not a straight line. It is a winding path. It requires adaptability. It requires resilience and innovation. By all means, seek guidance. Learn from those who've walked before you. But, remember, it's the traits that you cultivate, not the instructions you follow that will truly define your journey. [14:09.0]

The next thing I’ve learned from 10,000-plus financial advisor conversations is successful advisors control their calendars. When people say they don't have time, what they're really saying is “It's not a priority for me.” Sometimes people will say, “Oh, I don't have enough time to read the newsletter each month.” What they're really saying is “Getting information that could change my business and my life forever isn't a priority for me.”

I’ve noticed that successful financial advisors will make time for what they want. Let me be clear, because this is one of the biggest takeaways from this podcast that I want you to get—successful people let their goals dictate their calendars. Unsuccessful people let their calendars dictate their goals. One more time. I'm going to run it back for you all. Successful people let their goals dictate their calendars. What do unsuccessful people do? Do you remember? Unsuccessful people let their calendars dictate their goals. [15:06.2]

A successful person will set a goal to get in better shape and then insert time for cardio into his calendar. You see how that worked? An unsuccessful person will look at his jam-packed calendar and think, Oh, I don't have time for cardio, that sucks, and there's a huge difference.

One of the striking traits I’ve observed in successful financial advisors is their ability to prioritize effectively. They don't just passively let time slide by. Instead, they actively mold their time around their ambitions and their aspirations. This brings us to the dichotomy of goals and calendars.

Think of the calendar as a vessel. You can either pour your ambitions into it, shaping your days around what you genuinely wish to achieve, or you can let external factors fill it up, becoming a passive recipient of other people's priorities and whims, because if you don't have a plan, other people certainly have a plan for you. [16:00.8]

The successful advisor treats the calendar as a dynamic tool. For instance, if she sets a goal to enhance her skills, she will carve time out for an online course or seminar, or mentorship or coaching, or whatever. The point is that she will make the time. Conversely, the unsuccessful advisor becomes enslaved by the calendar, viewing it as an unchangeable record of commitments, never thinking the questions are rearranged for personal development.

Now, what does that sound like? Does that sound like, gasp, independent thinking to you, where if someone thought independently, that person would realize, Hmm, maybe I should change some stuff on my calendar? Oh, funny how that works. To put it succinctly, the proactive shaping of time, budgeting your time, is the hallmark of success. If you aim to excel in any field for that matter, take a hard look at your calendar. Are you actively plotting out your path or are you letting external events and commitments shape your trajectory? [17:00.4]

I talked about budgeting time or just mentioned that briefly. Successful advisors budget their time. Just as a smart investor is cautious about where he or she places money, successful financial advisors are incredibly discerning about where they invest their time. In many ways, it's analogous to money. It's a resource that can be spent. It can be saved. It can be invested, and unfortunately, it can be wasted. Budgeting is fundamental in the financial world. It's about understanding your income, managing your expenses, and ensuring you're setting aside for savings and investments that they can provide for you in the future.

Advisors guide their clients to allocate funds to the most crucial areas first, savings, investments, and then find ways to optimize the rest. Similarly, successful advisors approach their daily tasks with the same precision. Just as one would allocate funds to rent, utilities and groceries and savings—the priorities, right?—successful advisors prioritize their most important task first. They prioritize time with clients, financial planning, and marketing. Those things take precedence. [18:07.0]

Lesser priorities get budgeted in the time that remains. You invest first. Of course, you get your food, shelter, and water first, big, big, big priorities. Then you get your savings and your investments, and then everything else comes after that. That is how this works. These are how it should work, I should say.

Unsuccessful advisors also get themselves into something called time debt. Much like how financial debt acts as a looming cloud over one's monetary health, time debt is an invisible force that can slowly erode your wellbeing and your productivity.
Now, it's not a term you'll find in traditional dictionaries, but the implications are very real. Time debt is real, and it occurs when we overburden our future selves by piling on tasks and responsibilities and just jam that calendar fall without a clear plan for execution. It's the result of over-committing, not setting boundaries and not managing our tasks efficiently. Like financial debt, the longer you let your time debt accumulate, the harder it becomes to climb out. [19:05.0]

And over-commitment is the most common trap. People who say yes to everything, whether it's a new project or client meeting, or a prospective client meeting, even when you know in your heart that that prospective client is not a good fit for you, it can stretch you thin and it leaves you with more to do than time to do it.

Poor delegation, inefficient management, all of these things can put you in time debt. I don't have enough time to talk about all this stuff right now in this episode, but I’ll talk about it in the future. But it can lead to stress, burnout, diminished quality of work, strained relationships, and a whole bunch of problems. You want to make sure that you control your calendar.

Successful financial advisors, they are acutely aware of the pitfalls of time debt and they employ strategies to avoid it. They set clear boundaries. They delegate. They use time-management tools, and, really, I should point out, I like the term “time management,” but I realized there is no such thing as managing time. You can only manage yourself. But I say time management simply because, when I say it, people know what I mean. [20:03.7]

They also regularly evaluate their routines and they evaluate their commitments, their tasks, their priorities. Basically, every so often, it could be once a quarter, it could be twice a year or whatever, they look at their calendar and they say, “Is this stuff moving me toward my goals or is it not?”

There you have it, the second part of what I’ve learned from 10,000-plus conversations with financial advisors. As we close this episode, let's remember, success is not an accident. It is the result of countless conscious decisions, daily disciplines and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Whether you're a seasoned financial advisor or you're just starting out, the question is, will you implement these traits and steer clear of pitfalls, or will you let the currents of complacency and time debt drag you down?

Thank you for tuning in. Remember, the journey is continuous and every day presents a new opportunity to move forward. Until next time, keep pushing, keep learning and keep striving for excellence. I will catch you next week. [21:08.4]

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