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If you’re a financial advisor, you know that most advisors fail. Meanwhile, a small elite gobbles up almost all the clients, revenue and authority. As a listener of this podcast, you want to join that small elite.

But you won’t get there if you don’t do what the elite has done to get there. In this episode, you’ll learn which 7 things will let you join that elite and become one of the advisors others look up to and want to be like.

Show highlights include:

  • What not to copy from Warren Buffett (following his lead here could not only kill your business, but yourself in the long-term). (1:35)
  • Why successful financial advisors aren’t in the financial advising business. (4:45)
  • How to get more consistent results with everything you do. (10:50)
  • Why you should be able to hug your clients whenever you want to. (13:25)

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

Ready to learn even more about becoming the successful financial advisor you know you can be? Check out 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 the show, Financial Advisor Marketing. If you're a first-time listener, great to have you. If you're someone who has been listening to all the episodes, from day one, congratulations; you are one of the rare ones. I want to extend my arms and say "I love you for listening to the shows." I want to start this off - Oh, how the mighty have fallen, producer Jonathan. I did not sleep well last night.

Jonathan: Wow - that makes me so happy.

James: My sleep score… oh man, you're preying on other people's misery - woo. Wow. [0:01:03.1]

Jonathan: I didn't either.

James: My sleep score was a 70. A 70, Jonathan.

Jonathan: No.

James: And that's the lowest it's been in quite some time.

Jonathan: That sounds like a good night of sleep for me. Mine was 69 - oh I was at 69 actually, so I'm right there with you, brother - welcome.

James: Ooo… Well, it's all about perspective. For some people, I guess like a 75 would be amazing and for other people, a low score or a higher score than that would be terrible. I thought about this quite a bit. So being in the financial services space and helping financial advisors or whatever, I see a lot of Warren Buffet stuff all the time and Warren Buffet - loved the guy, loved learning from him. He's extremely knowledgeable. He's extremely wise. But he eats like a 7-year-old. He has McDonalds and the fries and the ice cream and he has two Cokes a day and stuff. I mean, if you don’t believe me, just Google it. Google Warren Buffet's diet. He just… he eats like total crap and this is not a political podcast and we're not going to get into politics or whatever but Donald Trump's diet apparently sucks too. [0:02:06.1]

They eat McDonalds and Coke and things like that. It's like how do these guys function at such a high level? If I have a cookie at night, I feel like crap the next day. So I've always wondered what it is about people's bodies and the way that they go through life. I feel amazing most of the time, but it's just I could not eat McDonalds every day. I could not drink two Cokes every day and still function at the level that I do. So I've always wondered about that, Jonathan.

Jonathan: I've got a friend who says, he makes fun of us for being too skinny, Cupcake and I. He's like, "If I got sick right now, I'd be fine because my body's got something to live off of. You guys would die."

James: The fat - you'd burn right through the fat. Okay. Alright. Well, yeah, and if you ever go unconscious in the water, you should float too, people could find you. That's mean; I shouldn't say that. [0:03:02.3]

Moving on. This is going to be a fun, fast-paced episode because I want to outline seven things great advisors do that others don’t. For some of you, this is going to be a refresher and it's always good to burn this stuff into your brain. For other people, it's going to be an eye opener. I would estimate that maybe, maybe 1% of financial advisors hit all seven of these. Some people may lie to themselves and say they do all seven, but if they do a little introspection, they realize that they're lying to themselves. Don’t' lie to yourself here. I'm the only one here. I'm your therapist. So sit on the couch, talk with me. It's completely confidential. None of the microphones here are tapped. Be honest and really question what you're doing because if you can really get these seven things, you'll be way, way ahead of the game. So let's get into this thing. [0:03:54.9]

Number one: They have a relentless focus on marketing. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has listened to this podcast for any length of time, but it's true. I know that we talk about sleep. We just talked about Warren Buffet's diet. We talk about movies, Tony Soprano. We talk about a whole range of topics. But the best advisors know that marketing is what makes them money. If people don’t know about you, you aren’t going to get many clients. That's just the bottom line. I think this, one of the reasons why my online course Financial Advisor Marketing Mastery has been so successful for some many advisors is because it has such a broad scope. I talk about multiple marketing methods. It's like a buffet. Advisors can go through there. They can really amp up their business on so many levels. The best advisors in the world have a relentless focus on marketing. They understand that they are in the business of marketing themselves, marketing financial services. They are not in the actual doing of the thing, the financial advising business. [0:05:01.3]

Number two, and we just got done talking about this a little bit - it's very important: They take care of their health. This may seem like it's not marketing related, but trust me, it is. This is something I've been talking about quite a bit in my Inner Circle newsletters and even right here on the podcast. I feel kind of silly for taking this long to figure it out, but it makes sense. Your body is a machine. You cannot get much done if your machine is broken down. A lot of financial advisors, their work is mental work. It involves a lot of thinking, which means that if advisors aren’t sleeping well, if they're eating a bunch of junk food all the time, it's going to have an impact on their income because it impacts their ability to think. I used to have brain fog all the time and I cleaned up my diet. I mean, I'm not a doctor. I'm not giving you any medical advice, but a lot of people have parasites in their gut. They have different things going in their stomach and that leads to brain fog. A lot of people have inflammation. A lot of people aren’t sleeping well. They have alcohol in their system and it all impacts their ability to think. If you can't think well, you can't make good decisions. [0:06:05.0]

If you can't make good decisions, you can't make much money in business because money in business is a result of good decisions being made. That's like - that's like the overarching theme of good health and business. I know I brought up the Donald Trump and the Warren Buffet thing, but those … I'm convinced that there are exceptions to the rule because every other person that I've studied the autobiographies and the biographies and even the people that I network with in my day-to-day life, they're in great shape and they take this stuff seriously. They have juicers. They juice everything and they sleep well and they have routines and they are into it. But, so I think Trump and Buffet are exceptions to the rule. So you want to give your body and your mind the best fuel possible. You want to insure you get the best sleep that you can because it will allow you - one more time, I'm going to say it to you - you're going to make good decisions because you're thinking clearly. I had an advisor email me, bragging about how he sleeps four hours per night, and I was like, you poor, stupid soul. [0:07:08.2]

Jonathan: Yikes.

James: Because it's been proven again and again that lack of sleep is literally like being drunk. So assuming this guy is successful, I can only imagine what he could’ve accomplished had he not been impaired his whole career. After we did the sleep episode, one of the people that emailed me was a financial advisor and he talked about Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and these are both people who prided themselves on getting a small amount of sleep. Well later in life, both of them got Alzheimer's, if I'm not mistaken.

Jonathan: Alzheimer's - yep.

James: So, and I could be wrong but I know there's a fact checker out there and he's going to fact check everything I say, but I believe that’s true - that they got Alzheimer's, dementia, something along those lines later in life. So be careful. You only have one brain so sleep well. [0:07:54.6]

Number three: They have crafted their own story. Now I want you to imagine having an appointment with a prospect and that prospect asks, "What makes you different?" What do you say? Because how you answer that question could make all the difference in whether or not you get that client. Most advisors say stuff like this, they say "I believe I provide the best service. I offer great advice. I take care of my clients. I have been in business 10 years." And they say all this stuff, but your prospects want to know about you - what makes you tick. I mean, that's what they really want to know. That's what you really want to think about and that's kind of like in a job interview. If someone said, "Why should we hire you?" And they say, "Oh, well - I'm a hard worker and I can do this and I've had this much experience so I…" No. Like cut to the chase. What actually makes you different? And it's the same thing when prospects are seeking out financial advisors. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but I recently had a guy tell me a story about his childhood and how his parents were irresponsible with money and he missed several big opportunities as a child because of it, and it really hurt him. [0:09:00.5]

He was a phenomenal baseball player and there was a camp that it cost like $2000 for his parents to send him there and they had college scouts and it was .. not proven… but it was strongly correlated with people going pro eventually because they picked out the best of the best and the people who attended this camp were serious baseball players. And his parents couldn’t send him to this camp and he was devastated by that. It really impacted him because them being irresponsible with their money and them not having $2000 to send him to this camp, even though he was a great baseball player, I mean, it impacted his future in a major way. As he grew older, that was actually a gift to him. Even though it hurt him in the moment and he couldn't attend this and he was devastated by it, it gave him the determination and the focus to be responsible with his own money. He can tell that story to his clients. That's a good story. It's an asset for him. Like yeah, it may have hurt in the moment and it may have sucked to go through that process, but he now has something that he can share with people. He can give it to them as a gift. He can replicate it again and again and again to help his prospects become clients so he can help them. [0:10:13.0]

Hey financial advisors, are you ready to take your business to the next level and get more clients with less stress? I invite you to join the James Pollard Inner Circle, a paper and ink newsletter that gets delivered directly to your door every month. When you join now you'll also get a 90-minute instant download called, "Five Keys to Success for Financial Advisors", a $97 value for absolutely free. All you have to do is head over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/newsletter and join today.

James: Number four: They think in systems. Producer Jonathan is big on systems. I can tell. He's got a system for everything in his business - onboarding system, podcasting system, mixing system, so on and so forth.

Jonathan: Referral system. [0:11:00.1]

James: And I'm not going to give away too much because I talk about it in the newsletters and I don’t want to reveal stuff that people pay good money for, but if you're taking notes, you want to develop systems in the following areas: You want to develop a marketing system. You want to develop a client onboarding system. You want to develop a client service system, which is like appreciation events, gifts, things like that. The number four, the fourth thing you want to develop a system for is office procedures. So this is like if x happens, you do y. If someone calls in, how do you answer the phone? What does your assistant do? How do you hire? What does your virtual receptionist do? All of those different things. So those are the systems you want to set up.

Number five: They're committed to specific results. I found that low performing financial advisors, they tend to think in vague terms - "Oh, I want to get more clients." Okay - how many? Or they say like, "Oh, I want to make more money." Okay - how much money? You’ve got to be specific, and this is especially true when it comes to marketing. [0:12:00.3]

Low performers think they need to stuff like get their name out there or build their brand or spread the word around, and these are all things that don’t lend themselves to specific results. If you go after a specific result, your outcome is better. For example, you can say "I'm going to send 50 messages on LinkedIn today" or you can say "I'm going to follow up with 20 of my prospects before lunch." That's specific. You have a pretty clear outcome, and you can judge yourself accordingly. Either you got the 20 outreaches or you didn't. You got the 50 LinkedIn messages or you didn't. So think about that. Think about your specific results, your specific outcomes - what do you want to go after?
Number six - and am I just burning through this list, or should I slow down and take some time to …

Jonathan: Bro… you're packing … we need to sell this episode.

James: Pack it up. This would be a good idea for a bonus or something that we were talking about yesterday.

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: Producer Jonathan and I were talking yesterday about some bonuses that I can put together for you guys. If you get something, you may have a little special surprise in there, some bonuses, some different add-ons and things that would really pack some value to this. [0:13:10.5]
So, number six: They build a relationship with their clients. This isn't just a platitude either. This is something I've really noticed. I've paid attention to this. Now here's a question - if you're a financial advisor listening to this, answer this question - if I put all of your clients in a room, would you be able to greet each of them by their first name? Yes or no? Be honest. That's a good question, isn't it, Jonathan?

Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah.

James: And I mean, people say "yeah," but it's like "Okay, well, who's this?" And you just point to a name in the CRM - like "What does she look like?" "What does he look like" "What do you do for them?" "What are their kids' names?" And you start asking questions and they just flounder.

Jonathan: Really?

James: It's good that people have a marketing machine and it's good that they're bringing clients in and if you’ve got a big business, this is all awesome, but remember - one of the systems is client service. [0:14:05.4]
You want to get to know them. And here's another question - would you feel comfortable hugging your clients? Yes or no? And you don’t want to be creepy about it. You're not giving them… I mean, just like in a general way, or reaching out…

Jonathan: Do they want to hug you?

James: Yeah - reaching out and smiling, shake their hand, something like that. That's a whole new level that most advisors don’t get to. Because I will tell you this - the advisors who do feel comfortable shaking their hand, patting them on the back, hugging their clients, those are the ones who win. Those are the ones who build the biggest businesses because the clients feel appreciated. They know that they matter. They're not just an account. They're not just a number in a system somewhere. They're real people who really matter to the advisors.
Number seven, the last one on this list, and arguably the most important is they think in terms of ROI. I was personally very fortunate that my mom explained this to me at a young age. We never had a lot of money, but my mom insisted on buying quality stuff. I remember I needed a pair of dress shoes when I was 13 or 14 years old. My feet had stopped growing at that point, and the parents would be like, oh well, you're just going to grow into the next pair of shoes, or you're going to grow out of them. So that's typically the excuse for buying you crappy shoes as a kid. [0:15:18.2]

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: "Oh, you're going to grow out of them." By this point, my feet had stopped growing and she wanted to make sure that I had a nice pair of shoes for like weddings, funerals, parties, all that. She ended up getting me a $300 pair of shoes.

Jonathan: Wow.

James: Yeah, and yeah, I was shocked because my mom was frugal. When you're talking about frugal, frugal - she was frugal. So frugal, I had to say it five times. She told me that instead of buying a cheaper pair of shoes and having them wear out quickly, she would rather spend the money now and have them last a long time. I got to tell you, that's freaking brilliant. I've carried that over to my own philosophy. I'd rather spend more money today to get a bigger return on investment as time goes on. [0:16:05.3]

Right now, with the new office and everything, we're painting it and we're getting high quality paint, and you want to get high quality paint because you'd rather have something that doesn’t need to be painted for a decade than something that needs to be touched up in two or three years. You've been in the real estate game, Jonathan; you know what I mean.

Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah.

James: High quality…

Jonathan: It's those little touches.

James: Yeah. You get a higher quality roof, the roof lasts longer than some of the other ones. There's an old saying, it's like it's expensive to be poor. Because things break down more easily. If you've got a little beater car and you have to keep getting things repaired and you have to keep touching things up and fixing things, it's going to be more expensive than just getting a better car from day one. So you want to think in terms of ROI. That's what my mom did. The best advisors think this way. They ask themselves, how can I spend money to get a return? They're not focused on saving. They're not focused on pinching every single penny, but they are focused on deploying capital and that's a term that I got from a book called The Outsiders, which talked about the best CEOs ever, and these are the CEOs that people don’t even know about. If you named these people, they wouldn't even recognize them, but they got the biggest returns for shareholders and they ran the best companies. [0:17:22.9]

These are literally the best CEOs. Most of them had no prior experience in their industry, so they still got it done. What they focused on was deploying capital, and when you start thinking in terms of deploying capital and how can you allocate your resources to get the maximum return, things start changing. If you spend $100 a month on a software that makes you $150 a month, that's a 50% return on your investment. That's good stuff. If you spend $1000 per month on direct mail pieces that gets you one $3000 client or one $3000 financial plan, that's another amazing return on investment. [0:18:02.4]

The same goes for health. It doesn’t have to be dollars in and dollars out necessarily. It doesn’t have to be that cut and dry. If you spend on supplements that allow you to perform at a higher level, that's a positive ROI too. I got my Oura Ring. It's $300. Yeah, it's a lot of money to spend on a sleep tracker, but you have to realize that the ROI for me has been incredible. I mention this in one of the previous episodes where it monitors your temperature. If your temperature deviates too much from the norm, it's a sign that you're getting sick. By tracking my temperature and responding appropriately, I have literally prevented sick days. So that's an ROI right there. Days that I would have been out of commission, I can still help advisors. I can still help them get results. I can still do this podcast. I can still operate at a high level because of the decision that I made because I deployed capital appropriately. The best advisors think like this everywhere, not just in their business. They think about it in their home life. [0:19:00.0]

When I talked about the roof, you put the nicest roof you can get, that would last longest, the nicest paint. They think about it with their vehicles. They think about it with their health. They think about it everywhere. They're thinking about return on investments. That's why the smart advisors - shameless plug - subscribe to my Inner Circle Newsletter because they realize - they can do math. They realize that if they only get one, one good idea a year from the newsletter, and it's a monthly newsletter. It gets shipped out on the 1st of every month. It's a paper and ink newsletter. But even if they only get one idea out of 12 issues, they're more than likely going to get a positive ROI. That's how they think. Those are the seven things. We really should charge for this episode, and I'm thinking about it. Make sure you listen to it again and again if you want and get it while it's hot. That's it for this week.

Jonathan: You want to do a quick recap or just roll?

James: Oh, I can do a recap. So I'm going to backwards here. Remember, the best advisors think in terms of ROI. They also build a relationship with their clients. They're committed to specific results. They think in systems. They're crafted their own story; that's very important. They take care of their health - extremely important. They have a relentless focus on marketing. [0:20:17.9]

Jonathan: Boom. What's coming up next time?

James: We're actually going to talk about… we're going to have another numbers-based podcast. It is seven things in this episode. Next time, we're going to do five things but they're going to be five things you want to avoid if you want to succeed as an advisor.

Jonathan: That's coming at you next week. Another Financial Advisor Marketing is in the can. Be back next time.

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