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Whether 2019 was your first year as a financial advisor or your tenth year, you’re probably ambitious and already expecting 2020 to be a breakthrough year that transforms your business and life.

But for that to become reality, you need the right attitude, goals and knowledge. In this episode, you’ll find out exactly how you’ll make 2020 the best year of your life.

Listen now to make sure you don’t look back at 2020 with regrets, but conclude that you’ve done everything you could.

Show highlights include:

  • Why traffic is the easiest part of marketing. (7:08)
  • The goal-setting exercise that helps you reach goals 10x bigger than whatever you’re struggling for right now. (8:20)
  • How a stopwatch can make you a more productive financial advisor. (15:52)
  • If you can’t explain your goals to a 6-year old, they’re useless. Here’s why. (17:11)

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 TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today.

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: Hey, financial advisor marketers, the fam. A brand new year is upon us and I must mention that this is Episode 52, which means producer Jonathan and I have done an entire year of podcasts..

Jonathan: Wow - congratulations, my man.

James: It's a pretty cool accomplishment, I must say. It does feel - well, it feels surreal, like I never really imagined there would be an Episode 52 and …

Jonathan: Never missing a week either. Serious consistency there. [0:01:00.4]

James: Yeah, absolutely, and that's one of the things that I think is one of the biggest factors of making a successful podcast. If any financial advisor is interested in doing that and it's not just podcasts either. It's all of your marketing. It's all of your business disciplines. It's got to be done. I must admit that there's no way in the world I would have been as disciplined if I didn't have the force of The Podcast Factory.

Jonathan: You just have an appointment on your schedule and you can't stand not to meet your commitments.

James: Yeah, I mean, yeah, that's … it is. It's like honestly, really what it is. And when I, when you have someone else who is like expecting you to be there at a certain time… I mean, if it was just me, I would be like, ehh, let's skip the podcast this week.

Jonathan: Yeah, yeah.

James: One of the things that I am most proud of is that this has allowed me to be consistent. I mean, if you've been following me for years, you know that I used to have a podcast called The Advisor Coach podcast and it did well. I mean, it got lots of listeners, but it wasn’t consistent. I mean, I would release an episode on Monday and I would release another one the next Wednesday and I would go two or three weeks without releasing another episode and around this time last year, well actually 14 months ago or so, I was beginning to work a podcasting system, which would allow me to be consistent with the show, and just like magic, producer Jonathan said, I have new episodes for you every Monday, and keeping this podcast going for a year was, it was a little New Year's resolution for me last year. I'm proud to say …[ 0:02:30.7]

Jonathan: Nice.

James: …I have accomplished it. I have kept going with this podcast for a whole year. So congrats to everyone.

Jonathan: No, no. I'm happy. I'm happy for you, James. I love it, man.

James: So, speaking of New Year's resolutions, we're going to open up the show with some facts about New Year's resolutions, just so everyone knows what they're up against. So according to US News, approximately 80%, 4/5ths, of resolutions fail by the second week of February.

Jonathan: God, they get that far?! Six weeks? [0:03:07.0]

James: Made it to Valentine Day. That's scary though, because if you make it to Valentine Day, you're in the top 20% of all people who set New Year's resolutions. I mean, isn't that how an optimist would look at it? I'm in the top 20%, rather than…

Jonathan: Get it.

James: … everyone else sucks. But I mean, that's your competition out there in the world. That's what you're up against. You're up against people who can't make it to Valentine Day. That's… really, yeah, and it can mean…

Jonathan: That's encouraging.

James: It is. It really is. It's encouraging because it should be easy for you. If you could just stick it out and put yourself in the top 20% and then the top 10% and I wanted to start the show off with a podcast thing and talk about how I actually accomplished my New Year's resolution because it's rare and not just a pat myself on the back or brag or whatever, but to show you that it is possible. If you set something, you can do the whole, the thing for a year. And some of the most popular New Year's resolutions - I was doing a little research before the show - they are to lose weight, read more, travel more and to learn a new skill. Anything that you thought would be there that's not or any surprises? [0:04:12.0]

Jonathan: That's like daily life for us.

James: Yeah. For the entrepreneurs, the people who are serious about growing their business, who are serious about growing their income, you want to have all this. You want abundance in every area of your life. Maybe you don’t want to travel a lot.

Jonathan: Maybe not an abundance of calories.

James: Yeah. An abundance, not an abundance of calories. Get that cornbread and Netflix.

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: But, I encourage you to set these goals and because this is the Financial Advisor Marketing Podcast, we're going to keep our conversations strictly to building a book of business and financial advisors and mindset and marketing and this week, we're going to talk about how financial advisors can make 2020 their best year ever. Now, in my opinion, one of the most important ways you can make this year your best year ever is to get crystal clear on how much money you want to make. [0:05:07.8]

I can't really help you with that because you need to set a number that you personally believe you could reach. We talked about that in a previous episode. The more believable it is, the more likely it is that you will take it seriously and the more likely it is that you will take the required actions to achieve it. Be careful because you definitely don’t want to set your sights too low. There's a sweet spot here and again, I can't help you because it's different for everybody. You don’t want to be too low. You don’t want to be too high. So let's say that in your best year ever, you increased your income $60,000. Maybe you were at like, I don't know, 90,000 and then you ended the year, the next year, 150. So you've increased your income $60,000. You've already done that, though, so you should have no problem doing it again or at least believing you can do it again. So why not stretch it a little bit? After all, you're going to be older, wiser, probably more skilled. You've got better marketing machines. So it's not too farfetched to think that if you can push yourself, you can increase your income $70,000. [0:06:08.7]

So set that as your goal or $80,000 or 90 - whatever you personally believe. Whatever you truly, honestly believe, given your resources and given your skills and everything that you've been blessed with. Set that goal. Your goal should stretch you a little bit and once you're clear on how much money you want to make, and I know it's not popular talking about money and financial advisors who get rich and make a lot of money, you need to reverse engineer based on your business, based on your current numbers. If each client is worth an average of $3500 to you, for example, that means in order to make another 70,000, you need to get an additional 20 clients. That's one every 2-1/2 weeks for the year. That's it. That's not that bad. Once you know how many clients you need, keep it going. Reverse engineer your marketing activities. How many seminars do you need to do? How much do you need to spend on advertising? How much traffic do you need to get? [0:07:02.0]

And traffic is… I mean, I talk about this in my Inner Circle newsletter. I'm not going to let the cat out of the bag and give you the farm, but traffic is an easy, easy one to do because you can look at your CRM or your website analytics or whatever and you can see if you've gotten five clients for every 5000 website visits, theoretically all you need to do is get 20,000 additional website visits, which should filter down into 20 clients and then you don’t need to remember all the numbers. I know a lot of this stuff is going to go over your head, but the main idea is that you want to reverse engineer your marketing activities because once you do, it becomes a lot easier because instead of asking "How can I make $70,000 extra dollars" if you reverse engineered your marketing activities, all you need to do is answer the question "How can I get 20,000 website visits?" because then you could start brainstorming answers. Then you can really think. You can run ads. You can hire an SEO expert. You could do guest blogs. You can grow your social networks. You can share on social media. [0:08:04.1]

And you could also work to improve your website's conversion rate so it wouldn’t even take you that much traffic to get those clients. That's just an example of what you do. You just reverse engineer the stuff. There are lots of different ways to work to your goals, but I want you to get those mental gears spinning and shifting with an example. So, goal setting. You set your goals every week, every month, every day, Jonathan?

Jonathan: You know, I… I'm a member of Strategic Coach, so I have lifetime goals. I have 3-year goals and then I have annual and quarterly goals.

James: Yeah, I do something very similar. I remember there was a Jim Rowan program where he stopped the program and basically said I want you to write down all of your goals and he said then I want you to put a 10 next to the stuff that's going to take you 10 years or you think is going to take you 10 years. Put a 5 next to the things that are going to take you 5 years. Put a 3 next to the 3-year things and 1 next to the 1-year things and it really opened my eyes because I had a lot of 1-year goals and 3-year goals. [0:09:08.6]

But I didn't have many 5 and 10. I mean, the point of the exercise was to get you to realize where the gaps were, so I imagine, I mean, I'm not in Strategic Coach, but I imagine that the exercise is similar where if you have a lot of 3 or quarterly goals and yearly goals, but not many lifetime goals, that would open your eyes to maybe you need to focus on the bigger picture.
Jonathan: Yeah, that's actually… those don’t change and it's just, that's what I'm striving for is the certain ones like being more generous, be a better man of faith and be a good dad and husband.

James: Sure, yeah, and I mean, I had similar structured goals, where I had a lifetime goal. I mean, I'm not going to give away the specific thing, but essentially, I want to give a huge, huge amount of money to children's charities. I mean, like a number that like I can't even fathom right now and it's just beyond my thinking, but I know that I can accomplish all the short-term goals because I believe that I can do the 1-year, the 3-year, but like eventually I'll get to the point where the lifetime goal is believable and I will hit it. [0:10:07.8]

I for sure, 100%, without a doubt in mind, will hit it. So, another way that financial advisors can make 2020 their best year ever is to get refocused on their productivity because productivity isn't something, even though I've got the peak productivity product and I help financial advisors with their productivity, you don’t go through that thing one time. You go through it two times, three times, four times. You want to get refocused. You want to tighten things up. Because as you go through your business, you put new systems in place. You have new employees. You have new processes. You have new onboarding stuff. You want to tighten it again, become more productive again. For example, one goal… I know a lot of solo advisors have this goal is to hire their first employee and I've often found that for a lot of financial advisors, that very first hire, typically an assistant, that hire produces the highest return on investment of any employee because they're becoming way more productive. [0:11:00.3]

They get rid of a lot of stuff that's on their plate and they get back to the high value task. So in most cases, there is never a higher ROI than that very first employee. They get back to prospecting. They get back to marketing, all that. An assistant can help you with a lot of administration, help you declutter your inbox, monitor your client files, all that stuff. Sometimes financial advisors will ask me how much to pay an assistant and I don’t know because it really depends on your geographic area. It depends on your skill set. I can't just respond back and be like, $20,000 and even then I would never say 20,000 but from what I've seen, most financial advisor assistant jobs pay between $35,000 and $60,000 per year. Of course, if you're in the middle of Washington, DC, it's going to be at the higher end of that spectrum and if you're in the middle of Alabama, move the hell out. Just kidding. I love Alabama. Oh, man - I'm going to get some hate mail. But anyway, yeah, if you're in the middle of Alabama, you're going to be towards the lower end of that spectrum, but don’t be cheap with your assistant. [0:12:04.5]

Hey financial advisors, If you're looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, I invite you to sign up for James' brand new webinar about how financial advisors can get more clients with email marketing. Go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today. On this webinar, you'll discover why email marketing is able to generate upwards of 4400% ROI for smart financial advisors, three fatal mistakes nearly all financial advisors make with their emails, and the proven 3-step process for converting prospects into booked appointments using email. All you have to do is head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar and register today.

James: If you're asking how much - we talked about this in the last podcast episode where people reach out and they're like, "Oh, just tell me the cost! How much?" That's the wrong approach and it's the wrong approach to use when hiring, too. Do not be cheap. I would rather have someone who I pay $40/hour who makes me $75/hour than to hire someone for $20/hour who only makes me $23 or $24 or even loses money. So don’t be cheap. Focus on the numbers that really matter. [0:13:17.9]

If you must, give him or her some incentives to do well. This is one area where you don’t want to skimp. A lot of people make the mistake of trying to hire talent for the lowest possible amount of money. People are investments, not expenses. There's our quotable for this episode. People are investments, not expenses. When you hire an employee, you are making an investment in your business. I don't know about you, but like I said, with the hourly stuff, I would rather pay an assistant $60,000, have that assistant generate $90,000 than to hire someone for 35 and have that person generate 36. So in both cases, yes, they're paying for themselves, yeah sure, they can cover their cost. [0:14:02.2]

But one is obviously a better investment than the other, and honestly, the person who's generating more revenue for you and more value, you're probably going to treat that person better. That person probably is going to be happier working with you, happier working at the company. They're probably going to stay longer and just like we talked about compound interest in one of the previous podcast episodes, this compounding effect also happens with your employees. I'm seeing it right now. Not too long ago, I hired another, an assistant in my own business and I'm seeing it. She … it took a little while for her to ramp up, but she's getting the stuff now and she's doing extremely well and I'm proud of her and we're making the thing work. If you've been listening to this podcast or if you've been subscribed to my email list, you know that one of my core philosophies is viewing everything as an investment. You want to look for opportunities to invest in yourself and investing in your own personal productivity is a game changer and while we're on the productivity realm, I would set a goal to track your time because who knows - maybe you really don’t need an assistant. [0:15:09.3]

It's something to consider. If you're a solo financial advisor right now and you think you need an assistant, maybe you don’t. Maybe you're on the cusp where you don’t really have enough work to justify hiring someone yet, but what you can do is start tracking your time to see where your time is really going and when I work with financial advisors one on one, this is mandatory. I mean, I require them to track their time and a lot of the advisors will try to show me their calendars instead. I mean, I would guess that like a third of them do that. They come back and they send me like a screen shot or a photo of their calendar. They're like, I track my time. I've got my calendar right here. I'm like, ohhh no - I want you to track everything with a timer because you and I both know that just because you put something on your calendar, it doesn’t mean you actually did it, that you're actually present, that you're actually doing the stuff. [0:16:03.1]

So, I put financial advisors on a program like Time Doctor or Toggle and I make them track every activity when they're in the office, everything. So what typically happens, virtually 100% of the time, is that they realize a large percentage of their time is getting wasted. They're not as productive as they should be and it's eye-opening for them because they think they are productive. They think they're doing a bunch of stuff. They're like, I'm in the office. I'm breathing. You know, I'm at work 10 hours a day, but they're not really working. It's eye-opening, like I said, because once they know where their time is going, they can go back and they can tweak things. They can tighten their game - they can make it better. That one thing alone, the tracking of their time, it almost always delivers a massive boost in productivity, like almost always.

And finally, when it comes to making 2020 your best year ever, when you're setting your goals, you want to make sure that your goals can give you some type of feedback because if your goals, if they can't give you feedback, they're not good goals. Period. [0:17:06.9]

Your goals should be so simple and so clear that you could explain them to a 6-year-old and that 6-year-old could tell you if you're getting closer or not. For example, if you want to get three targeted clients this month and you plan on reaching out to them through LinkedIn, you could set a goal to send out 100 relevant messages. So if the 6-year-old comes up to you and the 6-year-old asks, "How many messages did you send?" and you say you only sent 50, you know you're not hitting your goals. That's feedback. Ta-da! You could get feedback from Huddy, Jonathan.

Jonathan: I'm going to… that's a reason for me to employee him.

James: To employee him, get that tax deduction.

Jonathan: That's right.

James: Well, you may or may not get a tax deduction because we're not giving investment or tax advice on this show. Disclaimer. But yeah, no, totally - hire that dude and not to get off track, but I had a conversation with an advisor a couple of months ago about how he hired his child as a model for his business and he gave his child a reasonable modeling fee and put it in the account and did all the things 100% legitimate, for real legit, like actual model like in his business, not just like think about it - like 100% real. So, he could be a model for The Podcast Factory. [0:18:27.2]

Jonathan: No, like I owe him back pay then, for the Daddy's Working Season 1.

James: You could make a strong case… you're going to take notes. You're like, look at child modeling fees.

Jonathan: Child labor laws, Florida.

James: Yeah, yeah. When it comes to feedback, it doesn’t involve children. One of the classic examples, it comes from The Self Improvement Space, and I mean, I read a lot of stuff in The Self Improvement Space and motivation and inspiration and one of the most common ideas is that a pilot doesn’t just take off from the airport and check back a few hours later. Like proper goal setting, that pilot is continuously responding to feedback, making adjustments all throughout the flight. [0:19:09.8]
They're constantly making corrections and the pilot may actually make thousands of course corrections through the flight. This is another great point because not only should you be getting feedback, but it should be frequent, the more frequent, the better. "Daddy, Daddy's Working sucks. I told you this yesterday. Daddy's Working sucks. I told you this the day before."

Jonathan: Thank you.

James: That wasn’t me. Anyway. The one reason I love email marketing for financial advisors is because you can send an email out today and 24 hours later, you've got your feedback. Like it's … it happens. You see how many people open, how many people click, how many people set appointments. There's feedback. You can go back and see all that. That's also why I like LinkedIn so much. You can reach out to your target market. You can try an approach. If one works and the other doesn’t, you just keep doing what works but whatever your goal is, in order to make 2020 your best year ever, you want to make sure you're getting some type of feedback. [0:20:04.1]

Let me give you a little nugget, which can help you get more referrals. I go through some feedback for different things that I'm doing, different products and other people's products and so on and so forth and some people say, oh, lots of nuggets in this one. Like, I never really use that word, but people use it for like tidbits of advice and things, so I'm starting to use "nuggets" more. So, I'm giving you another nugget.

Jonathan: Get your nuggets.

James: Your nugget. I think of chicken nuggets. I don’t think of like nuggets of advice. I think of chicken nuggets.

Jonathan: I think it's nuggets of gold.

James: Nuggets of gold, nuggets… yeah, that's a good one. Yeah, I guess so. Golden nugget. I should know because I'm the casino buff, right. You know, Golden Nugget. But referrals, they're a form of feedback too, and of course, you can't directly control the amount of referrals you can get. I mean, you can influence the referrals. You can facilitate referrals and if you follow me, you that facilitating referrals is the holy grail, but you cannot direct control them. [0:21:01.5]

One of the things you want to do and this is like, this is the absolute goal, this is a real golden nugget, Jonathan. One of the things you can do is to develop a spreadsheet of all of your clients and if you're using a CRM, your CRM could do this for you, but the idea is that you want to put a check mark or an indication next to the every client's name once you've asked for a referral. You can set this up easily. It takes five minutes. The objective, though, is to have a check mark next to every single client by the end of the year, whether they've given you a referral or not because you want to ask. You want to get that feedback. You want to make sure you're giving yourself feedback so you can hold yourself accountable. That spreadsheet that's looking you in the face every day? That's a form of you giving yourself feedback. That is a real golden nugget that is actual, tangible value that financial advisors can go out and get clients with. So…

Jonathan: Boom.

James: Yeah. Those are some ways financial advisors can make 2020 their best year ever. Get crystal clear on how much money you want to make. Yes, I'm talking about dollars and cents money. I'm not being vague about it. I'm not beating around the bush. You want to make a lot of freaking money. Then you… because a lot of people beat around the bush, Jonathan where they're like, "Oh, we can provide even more value. We can go out and do this." It's like, no …[ 0:22:21.5]

Jonathan: Dollars are the measure of your value.

James: Yeah, exactly. In this world, you get money by helping people. One of the reasons I'm able to donate so much money to the children's charities or whatever is because I help a bunch of financial advisors get more clients and build their businesses. If I helped them make 10 grand, I've got no problem asking for $8000 or $9000 or $9999 because I made the other person richer in the process. That's how the world works. A lot of people are so timid about this. You get money by helping people. So you should want to make as much money as possible because the more money you have, it's a signal that you've helped more people. So get refocused on productivity too and make sure you're getting feedback. That is it for this episode. [0:23:10.0]

Jonathan: That is it. You set everybody up for an amazing 2020. What do you have coming up for us next time?

James: Next time, I am going to… I don't know what I'm going to do, actually. So I'm going to give the power to the people. If you have an idea for a podcast episode, go ahead and send it to James@TheAdvisorCoach.com. I live to serve financial advisors and if you have a good idea or if I get the same question multiple times, there's a good chance I'll do a show about it. Now, thank you very much. I appreciate you listening to this show. Now, go make this year, 2020, your best year ever.
Jonathan: You heard that, fam. Get to work. Another Financial Advisor Marketing is in the can. We will be back in your ear buds next time.

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