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Many financial advisors are analytical types, not slick salesmen. They’re uncomfortable with smooth-talking sales tactics and aggressive “closing”. But if you can’t sell, you’ll never make a penny as a financial advisor.

Fortunately, selling doesn’t have to mean extorting prospects until they submit and hire you. There’s a way to sell without feeling manipulative. It’s called storytelling.

If you tell the right story, you win your prospect’s attention, trust and their business without feeling like you sold them on anything.

In this episode, you’ll find out how to tell better stories to win more clients. Want to stop being ghosted by prospects and win more clients than your smooth-talking competitors? Listen now!

Show highlights include:

  • How a financial advisor got to $1B under management without a website, social media or thousands of clients. (6:21)
  • Why cavemen were better marketers than most financial advisors. (9:17)
  • Why no one cares about your stock market analysis unless you make it emotional. (11:21)
  • The “Screenwriter’s Secret” to being remembered, standing out and attracting clients. (11:49)
  • How simple stories and an eBay account lead to a 6200% ROI for two amateurs—and how you can use their secrets to win more clients. (14:47)
  • 3 obvious elements every good story needs (miss one of them and prospects will ignore you). (17:36)
  • The “Luke Skywalker Mistake” which makes people hate your stories and lose trust in you. (19:03)

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 the https://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 advisers 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 TheAdviserCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisers grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard. [00:31.7]

James: Alright ham financial advisor marketers is what fam stands for in this show, I want to welcome you to another episode of Financial Advisor Marketing. It's the show where I rant and ramble for about approximately 20 minutes each week and somehow magically it's considered content. Somebody reached out to me, producer, Jonathan sent me a little nasty gram.

Jonathan: Oh oh.

James: And was like, Hey, I know here comes and what else is new? Right? Nasty grams all the time. And it's like, you are very unprofessional, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I was like, you must be new around here. I never claimed to be professional. I claim to know my stuff. I claim to be a marketer and speaking of marketing, I wouldn't be much of a marketer if I didn't remind you to subscribe to the inner circle newsletter, which is my paper and ink newsletter that it gets shipped out on the first of each month, September 1st, October 1st, November 1st, December 1st, every single month on the first you can join over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching. [01:30.3]

And I mean, honestly, at this point, if you've been listening to this show for longer than a few weeks, I mean, I give you the first few weeks, I give you a pass, but if it's been longer than that, and you haven't subscribed something wrong, like I'm legitimately worried for your health or your safety. Because check this out, when you subscribe, you get, as of the time of this recording, it could change in the future, I could add more, I could take some away. But at the time of this recording, you get five bonuses that are worth combined more than a thousand bucks. I think the actual dollar amount is like 1,085. [02:04.7]

Jonathan: Wow!

James: And that's not made up guru value. That's not slap it on to make it appear like it's more and get you excited. That is this for real, this is retail. What this stuff would sell for if I offer it anywhere else outside of the inner circle newsletter. So here's what you get and we'll wrap it up real quick. You get five keys to success. This was the original bonus that I offered with the newsletter. It's one of the most important things I've ever created, it's an MP3 download. You get legacy building interview with Tom Ziglar. This is.

Jonathan: Wow!

James: Candidly speaking, Jonathan. So I monitor all my stats within Dropbox, within all the other software that I use to do analytics. So that legacy building interview with Tom Ziegler, son of Zig Ziglar, by the way, it is actually my least downloaded bonus.

Jonathan: Really? [02:49.2]

James: Yeah, people don't, I mean, people do download it, but compare it to the other stuff. It is the least access when, and it kills me because we'd probably do, depending on where you are in your life and the type of person who is likely to join you in a circle. It's probably the most valuable information. Cause they're more interested in legacy building. So there's no one better to learn from then, Tom Ziglar's trying to carry on his father's legacy and he an, he's an awesome guy. Interview was awesome. You also get a massive 371 page PDF; it's a transcript of the first 50 episodes of this very podcast.

Jonathan: Wow!

James: Interesting idea of how to transgress.

Jonathan: Slick….Slick. Yeah. [03:29.2]

James: So you get that, if you'd like to read and you like to skim and you take notes, this is perfect for you. It's meant to be an idea generator. Then you get how financial advisors can get results with direct mail, this is the MP3 download also. It's an interview with Craig Simpson. This guy has sent more than 300 million direct mail pieces. So if you're someone who thinks direct mail doesn't work, then this probably isn't for you. But if you're someone who likes to try new things and get better results than this is for you. And finally, we've got your boy producer Jonathan, Benjamin Q Settle.

Jonathan: Yeah. Q, huh!

James: This was a mind blowing interview. And this, honestly, this is my favorite one. I don't, I think the direct mail the one with Craig Simpson is the most access one, I think this is the second most access one. And it is just a mind blowing interview, even for me. Ben is one of those people where just one of his sentences, it's like just a condensed version of years of knowledge. So he says one sentence and you know, there's like four books behind that. Three documentaries. He's condensing it all for you. So you've got to listen to that thing a couple of times. [04:38.3]

And I personally took more notes from that interview than any interview I've ever done. So if you want to join that URL is TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching. And I look forward to seeing you sign up, you will not regret it. Now onto the show today, we're talking about storytelling for financial advisors and how financial advisors can use stories in their marketing. And this is one of your favorite topics. I know you like.

Jonathan: You think so? You think, you think I like stories?

James: You love stories because you go through, you went through the Sean D'Souza course. I know it's article writing, but he does a lot of story content.

Jonathan: Yeah. I do that.

James: Donald Miller

Jonathan: Oh my God. You're following the whole thing. There is no better form of communication in the world. If you can be a good storyteller there, there's just no stopping you. So I'm glad that we’re talking about this today. [05:25.7]

James: But I mean your, your portfolio of stories, I mean, you got ‘Daddy's Work’ and you've got ‘the daily bread project’, you've got ‘the podcast factory’. And by the way, I don't know if you want to share in the show, but apparently I sent you someone maybe coming on soon.

Jonathan: Hey man, you know, what's interesting about it is he came through your blog post. And so your SEO game is on point. Obviously I need to step mine up is what that made me realize. Cause now I'm paying you referral fees for blog posts, which I love, I love to give you money, but yeah, he came through your blog post. Then he found my blog post or he found my website through you. He read everything on the website, came very knowledgeable to the call and signed up dude, this guy has, I don't, am I allowed to talk about? It doesn't matter. We're not naming names. So a billion dollars under management. [06:15.6]

James: Ooh. Yeah. I mean, it's not, it's not unheard of right. I mean it happens, but here's, here's the thing. There are so many people who think that the billion dollars in management comes as a result of some mystic quality. They have something that other people don't have. No, they just, people just put the work in. You can do it. The opportunity is available to you as well.

Jonathan: Dude,

James: So it’s not.
Jonathan: I wanna, I want, because this is so important and you mentioned it. So I got to jump on this. This guy does not have Facebook. He doesn't have social media. He doesn't make videos. He doesn't do anything, bro. He's got one niche, one niche in one state and he's only got like, what were the numbers? He's only got like a small percentage, maybe like 3% of that niche.

James: In the state.

Jonathan: In that state.

James: And if he went multi-state and you're talking cray cray numbers now

Jonathan: I told him that too. He thought he wanted to go wider. And I'm like, bro, let's just get :that this guy's cousin and that guy's cousin and their brother, let's just go deep in this niche and you won't ever need to look at another piece of business. [07:23.0]

James: Wow! That's nuts. I mean, you've got the strategy down. That's exactly what I would say as well.

Jonathan: I learned.

James: One state, I mean.

Jonathan: One state bro.

James: Get your licenses in multiple States, stay in the same niche. And I mean the credibility that you have when you are so deep in a particular niche is unbelievable. And the referrals come easier. If you do outbound marketing, if that's what you want to do, then that's easier as well because people take you more seriously. You can basically build rapport a lot faster with all this. So very, very interesting stuff. And if you want to work with producer, Jonathan at ThePodcastFactory.com and you want to start your own podcast, feel free to reach out to him. Mention me, mentioned that you listened to this show. Maybe he'll give you something a little special, I don't know. I am receiving referral fees because I would be stupid if I didn't. Of course I'm going to monetize it in that way.

Jonathan: Make it rain baby. [08:19.8]

James: Now back to the stories. I mean, at this point in my business, I've sent and I've tested multiple millions of emails with infotainment, entertainment, stories, information, all that, and stories work better than anything else. There's no question. There's no opinion whatsoever. It's a hundred percent factual. There's hard scientific proof to back it up. If you're running any sort of email marketing campaign, put stories in there because you can make it better by adding stories. No question, but I don't want to limit myself and I don't want to limit you to just email marketing. I'm going to talk about stories in a broad sense, because advisors, they can use stories and direct mail pieces. They can use stories on the websites when they're talking to prospective clients, everywhere stories are great because they're so versatile. [09:05.3]

And there's a lot of carry over between different marketing strategies, because you can tell the same story in different mediums. So why stories? Well just like producer, Jonathan said, “Storytelling is the best form of communication.” It is a fundamental human experience that can unite people and it just creates stronger connections. Storytelling has been around since we were living in caves. We were playing with fire discovered fire. That must have been terrifying for the first person to discover fire. I mean, Holy cow, I've, I'd be freaking out. Anyway, if you're on my email list, you might notice that sometimes I start off my emails with something like, ‘Here's a funny story for you’, or ‘Once upon a time.’ I do that because they work. They get people to perk up. They get people to listen because they know there's a story coming. There's literally a story from Harvard called ‘Wandering mind, not a happy mind.’ So you can Google that and see for yourself, Google ‘Wandering mind, not a happy mind.’ And it explains how people spend nearly half their day creating stories in their mind that people are. They, we think in stories, it's just our language of how we communicate, how we visualize things, how we move towards our goals. [10:20.6]

And one of the most important marketing truths is that you need to meet people where they are. And that's one of the most profound marketing principles I've ever heard. And when you tell a story, that's exactly what you're doing. You're meeting people where they are. You're entering the conversation, type, the type of conversation, story that they're having in their heads. And remember people love to transfer information, that's how we communicate. [10:48.6]

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 one thousand dollars’ worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren’t available anywhere else.
Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more. [11:11.1]

James: And because we do that, we're constantly transferring information. Hey, I'm a financial advisor who works with dentists, that's a piece of information you want to get out and get that out into the world. The benefit with storytelling is that people remember stories a lot better than they remember hard facts. You probably don't remember the facts I dropped on you from the last podcast episode or the episode before that. I mean, we're, this is what episode 89. So 89 episodes ago on episode number one, you probably don't remember some obscure fact, but you remember, you probably remember at least one story from all these podcast episodes. You probably remember how I made you feel. That's what you need to understand. Our brains are wired for stories. And because of that, they're as good as actual experiences. They get implanted in our minds. And that's also why people can recall the plots of novels. They can recall the plots of movies because redundant story form. [12:04.8]

So if you're a financial advisor and you're frustrated to why people don't remember you or because you get lost in the noise out there, it's likely because you don't use stories enough. And I know that you produce Jonathan, talk about breaking through the noise and being memorable. And you also train your staff and the people who work for you on storytelling. I mean, that's one of the biggest pieces of your business from what I can gather.

Jonathan: Yeah. It, it, one of the biggest things, and I would recommend not that you guys need to be marketers, but to get the idea of ‘Building a StoryBrand’ by Donald Miller had a huge impact on us. And here's the thing and I want to sidetrack you, but here here's the big mistake that I think people make is when they're telling stories, they want to make themselves the heroes. And if I could just give you one piece of advice, it would be stop that you're not the hero of the story, your client, your reader, your listener is the hero. And you're the guide. You're the Yoda to their Luke Skywalker. [13:06.2]

James: Now I really struggled with that because I will talk about my stuff and I still, I still kind of do cause there is some merit in that because people need to see something. They need to have a visual of someone doing the things. So I say, here's an email I sent here, just so people know like, this is the concept. This is how it's being applied. But I, now I'm conscious of this. I always make sure to tie that into the person that I'm talking with. I say, this is an email that I sent. It was this subject line. I have this body copy. The reason I did it this way is because XYZ, you can do the same thing because XYZ and here's how to apply it in your business.

Jonathan: Boom!

James: So I always make sure to tie it in there.

Jonathan: Right.

James: Back in the day, I would just say, I did this thing and it's so awesome. Yay me, clap, clap, clap, and then end it. But now I tie it into the financial advisors. [13:54.5]

Jonathan: And now your bank account reflects that, doesn't it

James: Correct. And more people, I mean people are just waking up to, I don't want to call it a movement or revolutionary anything, but I think that's kind of corny, but really kinda sorta what it is. Financial advisors are waking up and realizing that the old way of doing marketing doesn't work this way of doing marketing does work. And they're like, if I, if I want to stick around for the next 10 or 15 years, or if I want to make as much personal income as I'd want, then I gotta change and I gotta do something different. And I got to do something that works. And speaking of bank accounts, stories, the people may on an intellectual level, people may realize that storytelling is good. Like, yes, we communicate in stories. I get it. We love stories with movies, novels great. But they're like, how can this actually add dollars to my business? [14:43.0]

Well, there's something called ‘the significant objects project’ and it was done by two guys named Rob Walker and Joshua Glen. This is all for real. You can Google it. I'm not just sometimes when I listen to other podcasts, people would tell these stories and they won't allude to the study, the actual empirical data, the evidence for this. So you can literally research for yourself, ‘the significant objects project’ with Rob Walker and Joshua Glen, these two guys, they wanted to see if they could resell cheap knickknacks on eBay and make a hefty profit by doing one thing. And that one thing was adding personal stories to the descriptions.

Jonathan: Nice.

James: So they ended up buying about $129 worth of thrift store items like a ceramic horse or a cow shaped coffee, creamer container, just these weird knick-knacks that people would just give to Goodwill or whatever. They will buy them for like two, $3 each. And then they hired a bunch of writers to write stories about this sentimental value behind these items. I'm not going to get into the morality behind this. Cause I mean, yes, they were kind of sort of straight up lying about the sentimental value. But the point is they were trying to the stories here. So they ended up selling one, $129 worth of items for more than $8,000. [16:05.2]

Jonathan: No way.

James: This is all real. I'm trying. I'm giving people the actual data, the actual empirical evidence. Cause I'm so freaking tired of people saying, Oh yeah, this works well. Like now optimize your site this way. Or like write your headline this way. And they don't give you any data. I'm giving you real data, $8,000. So if you do the math on that, it's 62 times their money from stories alone, 62x I'm not talking about a little 50% improvement, even a little, 100% improvement talking about 6200% improvement from adding stories.

Now here's how you can tell them or stories. First of all, don't overcomplicate this stuff. You don't need to buy a course on storytelling. You, you don't even need to read a book about it. But I do, if you want to read a book about it, I do recommend StoryBrand. It is an amazing one. If you really want to get down to the nitty gritty detail though, do you think cave men and cave women took a course on storytelling? No. [17:03.4]

Jonathan: Nice.

James: There have been entire cultures where literally nothing was written. It was all oral. It was all passed down from generation to generation. Trust me when I say that, if you are a human being, you already have what it takes to tell good stories. And if you think you can't, then you're essentially telling yourself that you're no better than it cave man. So get this idea out of your head that you're not a good storyteller or that you can't do it because your entire human experience, your entire existence is geared to tell stories. And here's how to tell it. Every story has drum roll please….Drrrrrrr ‘A beginning, a middle, and an end. And it sound like the map from Dora the Explorer there.

Jonathan: Yeah. [17:48.1]

James: But a beginning, a middle, and then end. I'm oversimplifying that. But I want you to get the message. You start off where a person was, talk about what the person did and where that person ended. Joe started off with $50,000 in student loan debt. That's your beginning. If you're a financial advisor and you're, you have a retainer based practice and you want to basically help young physicians or whatever. I don't know. So Joe had $50,000 in student loan debt. Then Joe put together a plan to pay off that student loan debt along the way he did some stuff to pay it off faster. That's your middle. That's what Joe is doing. He put the plan together. He's doing some things like to pay off the debt faster. And then your ending is now he's happy because he did things. He paid off his student loans and he can fund his retirement even more. Voila! That's as simple as I can make it. [18:41.5]

If you can get that, you will be better off the many financial advisors out there. Now let's get a little bit more advanced because that was simple. I'm going to kick it up a notch. Like producer, Jonathan mentioned to you, you need a hero and it comes from Donald Miller and StoryBrand, but the thing a lot of people get wrong, just like you said, is made, they make themselves the hero. This is the wrong approach. Your target market has to be the hero. Your prospect has to be the hero. Your client has to be the hero. You are the guide. A hero is someone who's transformed in the story. Even when my simple example, Joe, the guy with the student loan debt, he was transformed into someone who didn't have any debt. There has to be some sort of transformation. There has to be some sort of change when you're telling your story, whether it's in direct mail, whether it's email marketing, whether it's in seminars, I literally do not care. There has to be a change. And Disney Disney is just man. They kill it with stories. [19:41.5]

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: And the movies, billions of billions of dollars. There's a reason they make that much money because they tell good stories. And one of my favorite Disney movies is Hercules. And even though Hercules is a real hero because he's the son of Zeus and the Greek God, I don't know if technically, I don't think technically he's a God. Maybe he is. Don't call me on that. But it's still cool to see the transformation in the movie he transformed and this little baby, he had adoptive parents and he went from that to finding out that he is a God or maybe a God and fighting in Mount Olympus. That was a huge transformation. They even showed him as a teenager when he was kind of weak and you look weak and scrawny, but he was actually super strong. And then he got stronger and stronger and stronger and he trained and he just became a total badass. So that was his transformation. [20:28.5]

And another thing you need in your story, you need a goal. So the transformation and the goal, they go hand in hand because often your hero will transform into someone as a result of pursuing the goal. That the goal is the catalyst for the transformation and in a financial advisors case, the prospect may have a goal to retire with $2 million in an account. Well, that person is starting as someone who maybe isn't a disciplined saver. Maybe isn't a savvy investor. So he or she will need to transform into someone else to hit that goal. In this case, the $2 million retirement account, whatever that goal is to catalyst for becoming a disciplined person for becoming a disciplined investor. I hope that makes sense. I know I talk about it being in your show, Ben settle gives you like one sentence and it's like years of knowledge, that that is definitely one of those things. I’ve just condensed hours and hours and hours and hours of storytelling information into a few sentences. [21:28.5]

After that, you want an obstacle and this is the second to last thing. So if you're, if you're paying attention, if you're taking notes, pay attention to this, have you start paying attention to different stories. You're realize that nearly every movie and every book plot is centered around an obstacle. The hero needs to overcome something in order to achieve a goal. And a financial advisor story I'm trying to tie this back to you, you are my hero. This could be bad financial habits. This could be low income. This could be taxes. There's a bunch of different things. There's got to be something there that's an obstacle. And I also want you to keep in mind that not all obstacles are external. In fact, some of the best obstacles are internal, they're inside. They are the roadblocks that your hero has in his or her own mind. And to be completely transparent this is how I structure my own stories because financial advisors tend to have a bunch of self-limiting beliefs. [22:25.9]

They might believe they don't deserve to make a bunch of money. They might think that marketing is supposed to be difficult when it's not. Those are all internal obstacles. It is my job to be the guide like I'm saying it is my job to get financial advisors past those beliefs so they can eventually accomplish their goals. I'm just being a hundred percent transparent. That's how I structure my own stories. I do it because it works. I'm telling you to do exactly what I do. And then finally you need a moral, like a moral of the story. And if you're on my email list that I explicitly say it, sometimes I say the moral of the story is this. And I give it to you. You need a way to tie everything together. And for most financial advisors, the moral of the story will be that you need a certain type of financial product or service and that a financial advisor can help you along the way. Insurance is an easy one. Someone dies without insurance, the family struggles, etc. The moral of the story there is to get life insurance. [23:24.6]

Financial planning has a million different ways to do it. It could be the embarrassment of father fields, not being able to provide his daughter with her dream wedding. That's a pool pulling at the heartstrings. It could be seeing your grandchildren go to a crappy public school when you got to go to a private school. It could be slaving away at a crappy job in your twenties to save money and then waking up one day in your sixties and realizing you have a significant nest egg. Now you can do whatever you want to do. You have reached your goal. My advice to you when it comes to this is to avoid being subtle with your moral. A lot of people try to slip it past and try to embed it. I don't like that. I've never been able to relate to that. And in my test with millions and millions of emails, whenever I tried to be subtle with my moral, it just didn't work as well. So come right out and tell people what it is. Don't make them think and more importantly, tell them what to do next. That's so important. And I keep beating this drum with my inner circle members have a call to action, have a call to action because if your market doesn't know what to do next, they're not going to do anything. So give them the moral of the story and tell them what to do. [24:37.2]

And to recap if you're taking notes, because this is definitely a podcast episode where you one, you probably want to go back and take notes. If you haven't, here are the things you need to tell better stories. You need a hero, you need a goal, you need an obstacle and you need a moral and you can also throw in a mentor there if you want. I really didn't talk about that too much, but you would be like the mentor or the guide. And that's how financial advisors can tell better stories.

Jonathan: Wow, you're a professional. You are a professional. Alright, fam another financial advisor marketing is in the can. This is one of those that you have to listen to thrice. So go back through it and we'll be back with you next time. Thanks for tuning in. [25:18.7]

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