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In my life, I’ve stumbled upon 10 concepts that have changed my life for the better.

While they’re not directly tied to financial advisor marketing, these 10 concepts have created more success, wealth, and happiness in my life.

And they will do the same for you.

In today’s show, I reveal the remaining 5 life-changing concepts that every financial advisor who wants more success, wealth, and happiness should know.

And you know what?

Who couldn’t use more success, wealth, and happiness?

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The weird way studying the best scams of the past 100 years might be the best financial decision you make (2:47)
  • Warren Buffet’s #1 rule for getting stinkin’, filthy rich (4:26)
  • The “Expected Value” marketing and sales trick that turns even the most skeptical prospect into cold, hard cash (4:46)
  • How having a well-defined niche lets you break all the marketing “rules” while you laugh your way to the bank (10:28)
  • Why knowing the 2 distinct types of happiness lets you systematically, intentionally, and purposefully increase your joy (16:26)

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.

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, it’s James Pollard again. I am so glad that you're listening, and I am thankful that you're here. This week's episode is going to be a continuation of last week's episode where I began talking about 10 life changing concepts financial advisors should know. These are some of the most important things I’ve ever learned. I hope they're as helpful to you as they are to me. We covered five concepts in the last episode, so we have five more to go. Let's begin with Number 6. [00:58.1]

Number 6 is if someone repeatedly makes bad decisions that impact other people, or I guess they don't really have to impact other people, then there are only two potential explanations: that person is either ignorant or malicious. You have to figure out which one it is.
Now, there's something called Hanlon's razor, which states that you should never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity, and to be fair, that's a good razor to follow, because many people are just stupid. If someone cuts you off in traffic or runs a red light, chances are that person is stupid. That person is not out to get you personally or to be malicious.
Hanlon's razor also explains a lot of misunderstood emails and text messages. Sometimes the tone of a written message can be misinterpreted. It's easy to think that someone is angry or trying to snub you, or be malicious, but most of the time, people just don't know how to convey the correct emotion in their writing. They're ignorant of how to do that. [01:56.5]

And sometimes you are the stupid one. When I used to lose things, like keys, wallet, phone, one of the first things I thought to myself is, Ugh, someone took it. But guess what? That rarely happened. Typically, it was me not being smart enough to place my things where I would look for them. However, Hanlon's razor can fail you, because, sometimes, the sad fact is, people are malicious.
There are people out there who don't want you to succeed. They don't want to see you win, and worse than that, they will actively work to prevent you from winning. They will take time from their day and resources from their lives to prevent you. It's just so nuts to me. I can't even relate to it, but I know that it exists. So, to blindly think, Oh, these people are stupid and to rely on that razor is a grave mistake.
Scams and Ponzi schemes are other good examples. I think it's a good idea for everyone listening to take a day or two and study some of the most popular scams of the past 100 years. They're surprisingly similar. Conmen haven't changed all that much. They use the same approaches and they use this exact same strategies dressed up in different tactics. If you take my advice here and just learn the signs to look for, you will probably never fall victim to a scam in your entire life. [03:16.8]

This will also be a probability. There's a probability that someone is malicious. There's a probability that someone is stupid. You have to kind of make that judgment. My personal advice to you, though, is if someone is likely to be malicious, then you should avoid that person.
A book I'm reading right now is called The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker and it has a lot of information about how women can not only escape, but prevent getting into abusive and violent relationships. That's more important, in my opinion, preventing it in the first place. You never really want to engage in a fight or have to defend yourself if you can walk away, if you can get out of the situation. [03:54.5]

There are certain telltale signs that predict abusive behavior. For instance, if a man doesn't want a woman talking to other people, that is a huge red flag. Are there people out there who have been hurt so badly that they are genuinely afraid of you talking to other people, and they can change their ways and they're just kind, goodhearted people who have this flaw? Sure. But those people are one out of every 100, if I'm being conservative, and I don't know about you, but I'm not willing to take those odds. So, if someone is likely to be malicious, that person should be avoided.

The same is true in business and marketing, and in life. Warren Buffett says that the number one rule and getting rich is to not lose money. I think we can extrapolate that thinking to our lives and say that the number one rule for being successful is to avoid catastrophe, and if you let a snake into your life, don't be surprised when you get bitten.
Number 7: when possible, you should strive to think in terms of expected value. Richard Branson has an autobiography called Screw It, Let's Do It and it talks about how he has struggled with dyslexia. Dyslexia made math difficult for him, and there are lots of kids who have dyslexia—they struggle with reading. They struggle with math. It affects kids in different ways—but Richard Branson realized that business success required him to get comfortable with numbers. [05:14.7]

So, he worked hard at it. He taught himself and he used those skills to catapult himself to massive success in business. I tell you that because you might think that, despite being a financial advisor, you don't like doing math. That would be strange to me, but maybe you just let the financial-planning tools do everything for you. But believe it or not, you can pull out a calculator and answer a lot of important questions about your life.
I actually use expected value to explain to financial advisors why they should subscribe to my Inner Circle Newsletter. I use it as a strategy. I'm just being transparent with you. This is how I explained it to them: What are the odds that you will learn something, for example, from a single newsletter issue that will make you $10,000 over the course of your career? What are the odds—90%? 50%? 10%? [06:04.7]

Let's be extremely conservative, and say that the odds of that happening are only 2%. If that is the case, then the expected value of each newsletter issue is $200, because 2% of 10,000 is 200. That also means the expected value is more than double the investment of $99 per month, even with these ultra-conservative estimates.
Let's do another example, because, I mean, honestly, 10,000 is a big number and sometimes people struggle with it, like, Oh $10,000 from one newsletter, I don't know. Can I get five clients or can I get three? It's far more likely that I can help you get just one extra client per month over time, with all of the tweaks in the little tidbits and details inside the newsletters that you will just implement into your business over the course of years. That's not a bold promise, is it? I mean, it's not like I'm promising you the moon and the stars and everything. Just one client per month. [07:02.6]

Next, we'll assume that there is only a 10% chance of that happening, meaning, there is only a 10% chance that I can help you attain the marketing skills instead of the systems that can get you one extra client per month, so that's extremely conservative as well. Even then, the expected value of the newsletter can be calculated based on how much you make per client. If you make $3,500 per client, the expected value of each newsletter issue is $350, because 10% of 3,500 is 350.
Many people have told me that I'm one of the best salespeople they have ever seen. They think I'm selling all the time, and I kinda-sorta am, but truth be told, I'm not that good of a salesperson. What I do is I put a logical argument in front of financial advisors with a smidgen of emotion mixed in and let the financial advisors reach their own conclusions, because any advisor who can't see that getting $350 in exchange for $99 is a good deal shouldn't be a financial advisor in the first place and isn't a good fit for me. I like to work with people who can do math, who can think logically and who know good deals when they see them. [08:11.1]

I also use expected value a lot when thinking about which marketing campaigns to create and which ones to scale, if I have limited resources. For example, let's say that I can spend my time going to an event or doing something in person with financial advisors. Doing in-person stuff, to be fair, tends to have an extremely high, quote-unquote, “conversion rate”, for lack of a better term, because you can see people eye to eye. You can shake their hands. You can hang out with them.
But let's say that I can convert one out of every 10 people I meet in person and I make an average of $5,000 per converted person. That means the expected value is $500 every time I meet with someone in person. So, now the question becomes, how much time am I spending with each person and how much do I want to make per unit of time, per hour? If I spend an hour with each person, then my expected value is $500 per hour. If I spend two hours on average with each person, then my expected value drops to $250 per hour. [09:09.0]

If I want to make more money than that, I should probably choose a different activity. If I'm glad to make $250 an hour or $500 an hour by meeting with people, then I should do that as much as I possibly can. Most people don't think that way. They will never sit down and actually calculate what it is they want to make versus how much they expect to gain from any given activity. That's one reason why people never build any real wealth.
If you're a financial advisor and you want to make $500,000 per year, for example, then you need to at least put yourself in situations where the expected value of your activity is $500,000 per year or more. Otherwise, you're wasting your time. You can do the same if you want to make $300,000 per year or $750,000 per year, or 1 million, 2 million. Whatever it is that you want to do, you need to put yourself in situations where the expected value is at least what you want to make, because then you are just tilting the odds in your favor. [10:02.8]

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.

Moving on, Number 8, the best marketing campaigns, this is the big one, are 100% market-driven. I spend a chunk of every single day of my life answering emails from Inner Circle members, I have helped them with everything from content marketing to hiring people to SEO to social media, and more, and in some cases, I am absolutely, emphatically, not the best person to help them.
What do I mean by that? Sometimes financial advisors will ask me specific questions about what they should say on their websites or what they should post about on social media, and I can give them strategies. For instance, telling stories is a great email marketing strategy. It is a great social media strategy. But I can't tell them which stories to tell. That must come from the niche you're trying to target. [11:14.7]

A while back, I did an episode talking about how following marketing formulas can be dangerous, because while formulas help you establish a solid baseline, they will almost always fail to get you to elite status, because the elite status in marketing where you absolutely crush it and dominate and just make tons of money, that comes from your market.
I'll give you an example. A good strategy for writing headlines and subject lines is to ask a question. That's the formula. I love question-based headlines and I use them all the time and my social media posts, my online ads, and so on. Yet the actual question itself must come from your market. If you're a financial advisor who works specifically with retirees, then the question you use in your headline will be different than the question someone else uses. [12:00.0]

Some of the biggest winners I’ve ever seen have been question headlines about big changes in certain niches. Let's say that there's a new law or a regulation coming out that will affect people in the agriculture industry. You could run an online ad that says, “Are you prepared for the upcoming regulation about ABC? Are you prepared for the New Law AB2, SB1, whatever it is? That is something no generalist financial advisor can copy because it is specific to the market.
This is another reason why I say that niche marketing makes everything easier, because even when you serve a niche market, you begin to do market research automatically. It just happens. You begin to notice what your market is thinking, you begin to notice what they're feeling, and you can use that material in your marketing. You begin to get ideas for emails and social media posts, and blog articles and webinars, and things that other advisors can't use. It's not that they shouldn't use or might not use. They cannot use it if it's not their niche, and that is a huge competitive advantage. [13:00.7]

I think the worst thing that a financial advisor can do is to look at what other advisors are doing and try to copy that. That is so dumb, so, so dumb. I hate it when financial advisors come to me and say that they think they should be doing something because another financial advisor is doing it. You're in New York targeting retirees and you see this person in Oregon doing this strategy with this market that's not even the same as yours and the goals aren't the same, and you're not making the same amount of money. It's just absolutely insane. We don't do this in any other areas of our lives.
Imagine a man is going through a rough patch in his marriage. Would you recommend that this man go out and ask a bunch of other married men what he should do? If you answered yes, you're probably part of the problem. You're the one making this mistake. My answer is obviously, no, of course, not, dumbo. The man should go directly to his wife and figure out what the problem is. What does his wife want? Unless you're trying to impress other financial advisors and give them what they want, you should focus on your market and on giving your market what your market wants. [14:08.1]

Number 9: preparation makes life much easier. Most people have hard lives because they don't prepare. Now, of course, financially, this is so. If you're a financial advisor, your whole career is about helping people prepare for retirement, college planning, preparing to pay more in taxes than they expect or not as much money and taxes as they expect. But it's true with a lot of other things as well.
A few years ago, in one of my newsletter issues, I wrote about having a fire extinguisher on every floor. I don't even remember the details. It was in a bonus and I just mentioned things that you should have, and I think I just said, “Hey, have a fire extinguisher on every floor.” It seemed like common sense to me, but it wasn't to everyone else. One Inner Circle member emailed me and told me I prevented his house from getting burned down because I helped him prepare, and I talked about this in a podcast episode back in the early, early days of the podcast. It was so crazy, his house would have burned down had I not helped him prepare. [15:05.7]

Do you have emergency rescue equipment? Do you have stuff around your house that can prevent a catastrophe? I know a lot of people get up in arms, pun totally intended, about firearms, but do you have a firearm on every floor of your house ready to go? Let me be real with you, I have family members who were brutally murdered because they couldn't defend themselves.
Do you have a way to break a car window, if necessary? Let's say your car goes off a bridge and you're sinking in the water? Do you have a way to cut off your seatbelt? Do you have a way to break the window? If you see a dog in a parking lot that's about to die because it's super-hot, do you have a way to get through that window? Do you have a first-aid kit in your car? Preparation can get you through calamity without being destroyed. If there's a fire, you can stop it. If there's a home invader, you can stop the threat. You can survive. You are preventing a catastrophe. [15:57.2]

You must also prepare to win. You must prepare for success. I think too many people drift through life thinking that success happens accidentally, that maybe today is the day. “Today's the day that success is going to fall from the sky and land on my lap.” It doesn't work that way. I think if we honestly looked at our lives, we would come to the conclusion that many of the obstacles and challenges we faced were because we didn't prepare enough or we didn't prepare at all.
And, Number 10, the last life changing concept I think all financial advisors should know is there are different forms of happiness. Daniel Kahneman talks about happiness on two levels, memory and experiential, experiential happiness refers to the positive feelings or emotions that we experience in the moment. It is the joy we feel while engaging in an activity rather than the satisfaction or pride we might feel when reflecting upon it later. This kind of happiness is immediate. It's visceral. It's an experience. It's the pleasure of a good meal, the joy of a conversation with a friend, in the moment, or just being content while you walk in the park. [17:02.6]

On the other hand, memory happiness relates to the satisfaction, the contentment, the joy and happiness that we feel when we reflect on those experiences. It's not about the joy we felt in the actual moment—that's experiential—but it's how we remember the joy when we think back to it.
A classic example Kahneman uses is vacations. You might have gone on vacation and endured long hours of travel, jetlag, and a whole bunch of other inconveniences. But when you look back, what do you remember? You remember the breathtaking sights. You remember the unique experiences, the fun moments, the laughter, the joy. The retrospective happiness is memory happiness.

The reason I'm sharing this with you is because you can actually systematically, intentionally and purposefully increase the happiness you feel throughout your life by doing two things. The first thing is prioritizing meaningful experiences. That's experiential happiness. However, I think a lot of people go down the wrong path by thinking about experiences and material possessions in binary terms. They think they can either spend money on experiences or they can spend money on things. [18:11.8]

But I’ve got to tell you, if a material object increases your enjoyment of an experience, then you should probably get it. Living in a bigger house, and a prettier house, a better house, a safer house, a more comforting house, will help you create better experiences with your family than living in a cramped, damp, dank apartment—so don't be too quick to cast aside material objects as being irrelevant to happiness, because they are not.
The second thing you can do to systematically, intentionally and purposefully increase your happiness is to capture moments. Document your experiences. Write in a journal. Take photos. These things can help you revisit memories and cement them in your consciousness, and you’ll always have them. [18:56.1]

I know a guy who writes a journal entry every single month for his children. It's just a few paragraphs about what he did, what's going on in his life and how he's feeling. When the children are adults, both he and them will be able to read it and appreciate it. He'll get to relive all of those memories and he'll be able to cherish them. That's powerful stuff, man. Make sure you document things along the way. I don't think I’ve ever met a single person who has told me, “I regret taking so many photos of my children,” or “I wish my wife and I didn't do so many amazing things together.” Really think about that.
All right. That's all I have for you this week. Next week, I'm going to explain how I got 19,030 views on YouTube in my first 28 days on the platform. It's going to be a good episode. You don't want to miss it.
So, I'll catch you next week. [19:39.6]

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