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As a financial advisor, your personal performance decides if you thrive or struggle. When you’re on top of your game, your service is top-notch, your business grows and you feel fantastic.

But if you’re not getting things done? Clients leave, you forget to follow up with prospects and you feel like your business is falling apart.

In this episode, you’ll find out about the worst productivity habits that kill financial advisors’ businesses. If you want to get more done, grow your business and feel more confident, listen now!

Show highlights include:

  • Why you should never do anything for free (not even in your free time). (9:39)
  • How the “passive income lie” keeps you broke (and how to make massive income instead). (10:31)
  • Why Elon makes a million in an hour working the Tesla assembly line (and how you can value your time the same way). (11:50)
  • The weird reason skipping breakfast can make you more productive. (15:14)
  • What heart attack survivors can teach you about getting more done without working longer. (17:03)
  • Why a near-death experience can skyrocket your business. (17:51)
  • The toxic habit that causes procrastination and fills your day with worthless admin work. (18:41)

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.

Read Full Transcript

You're listening to Financial Adviser 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: Financial advisors, thank you so much for listening. This is James Pollard, your host also with producer Jonathan, producer from ThePodcastFactory.com. And like I said, in the last episode I do this show well, maybe it wasn't the last episode. I really don't remember at this point, but at some point I said, I do this show for you. I don't need to do the show. I really don't. I know a lot of gurus and online personalities; they talk about how they like to give value out of the goodness of their hearts and how your credit cards are safe with them and all this crap. I would rather tell you the truth. I am running a business. I sell stuff. I sell stuff that helps financial advisors. Financial advisors give me money. Shocker! in exchange for improving their lives, it is that simple. I'm not going to lie. I like making money. I really do. But to me, it's just the icing on the cake. [01:25.7]

It's a scorecard for me to use, to see how many people I'm helping. I encourage you to do the same thing, have the same mindset. Money is a representation of how many lives you're impacting and how much you're helping the world. If you have a lot of money is because you've helped a lot of people. If you're asking for a lot of money is because you want to help people in a major way. Speaking of money, I've got a cool story to share with you about how financial advisors should be thinking about money. I recently called my insurance agent to ask for a quote on car insurance, because I'm in the market for a new car.

Jonathan: Yes, sir.

James: Well. Yeah, you know, producer Jonathan. Well, I guess cats out of the bag, I talk about it in the September 2020 inner circle newsletter I believe that I am in the market. I'm trying to get a Tesla.

Jonathan: Trying, come on! You're getting a Tesla. [02:18.0]

James: I'm I'm definitely, I'm definitely getting it, but I haven't decided exactly. I want it to be custom. And I want to do a couple of little things with it that aren't really available to the average Joe. And I'm trying to do some things with it, but I called the lady and she kept insisting. She wasn't asking me, she wasn't pointing out. She wasn't being subtle. She was just insisting straight up insisting that I take a defensive driving course.

Jonathan: What?

James: Well, I guess it's a common thing in, in car insurance, where if you take the defensive driving course, you get like 10% off your insurance.

Jonathan: Hmm.

James: And she told me, and I just told her, I was like, Hey, I'm not interested. I'm not gonna do that. I'm like, I, I'm more happy to like, learn the rules of the road again, I guess. I mean, can I, I haven't had a ticket in a long time. And she was like, well, what do you mean? You're not interested. She's like, if you take it, cause she was like, I don't think you understand, sir, if you take defensive driving, you'll save 10% on your policy. And I was like, that's that's okay. [03:20.1]

Jonathan: How do I get my J back?

James: Yeah. I was like, I'm really not interested. And this is exactly what I'm getting at. I'm getting to that point. She said this. She said, well, Sir, the defensive driving courses, only about $20 depending on where you take it. And it will save you more than $20. So it's a good investment. It's like.

Jonathan: All right.

James: Sorry Ma'am I'm not taking my investment advice from you. So let's break down this math. I pay about $90 a month for my car insurance. Now I know that's cheap. I've got a bunch of coverage with the same company. You've got all light up a bunch of coverage. So it's relatively cheap, 10% of $90 for the car I'm replacing. That's $9 a month. The defensive driving course lasts for three years. So let's do some math, 36 months, times $9 savings per month. That's a total savings of $324 over three years, not bad. [04:23.9]

I mean, if you $19 turning into 324, okay, but here's the kicker. The defensive driving course itself takes six hours minimum to complete. And let's say it takes me another hour to prep and submit the information and take the test at the end and all this stuff that's involved with it. I really don't know. Maybe there's tests at the end of every chapter. I have no idea. So let's just say seven hours total. If we do the math there, we realized 324 divided by seven is that I will be making about $47 per hour to complete the course. Well.

Jonathan: Love it.

James: You just gotta make your, you gotta be conscious of this. It's really just $47 per hour. So if I did that during the day, rather than helping financial advisors, rather than writing the newsletter, rather than conducting surveys and studying the market and survey, I'm doing a lot of surveying of people now, like investors and trying to gauge their sentiment. [05:22.7]

If, if I took the defensive driving course, instead of that, it would actually cost me money. And most people don't think this way, they don't assign a dollar value to their time. They think it's free, they think it's like air. They can get as much as they want and then give it away without any consequences. And I want to tell my Dunkin donut story. I've told this story on the podcast before, but it was one of the early episodes like episode. I don't know, before 10, I think. And I'm going to tell it again, cause we probably have a bunch of new listeners who haven't heard it. And this is one of the most profound things I can ever teach financial advisors because as a financial advisor or any service professional, really your income is tied to your productivity. So here we go, snuggle in wherever you are and gather around. I tell you the story. Six or seven years ago, Dunkin donuts. I'm going to call it Dunkin donuts because that's what it is. It is not Duncan

Jonathan: It is Duncan. [06:21.1]

James: No it's not fricking Duncan. And this sounds so dumb like, Oh, bro, want to go to Dunkin today? Like God, No! Dunkin donuts for life player and got a tatted on me. Six or seven years ago, Dunkin donuts used to do this promotion where they would offer a free coffee to people in the area whenever the local football team won. So if you lived in Seattle and the Seahawks won, you'd get a free coffee. It was like a premium ice or hot coffee. Right? And I lived in the Philadelphia area. So whenever the Eagles won Dunkin donuts in my area that they would offer free coffee. And I live by one that didn't have a drive through because it was on the main street, the main strip or street or whatever, it didn't have a drive through. So you literally had to walk in to get your stuff. And I remember walking by that Dunkin donuts on Monday morning and just seeing a line around the block, people were lined up to get that free coffee that I know when I say line around the block, sometimes people will think like, well it was just out the door. No, no, no, no, no. I mean around the block. [07:28.3]

Jonathan: Wow.

James Dozens and dozens and dozens of people all lined up at the Dunkin donuts just waiting for that coffee. Now I Google this before the show cause I really have no idea what the stuff costs, I just get it right. A medium ice coffee at Dunkin donuts right now is $2 and 49 cents. And I imagine it was a little cheaper back then, but let's just say it was two 49 then as well, these people would wait 20 or 30 minutes to get $2 and 49 cents for free essentially. That's what it is. What in the heck is wrong here? Let's say you wait 20 minutes. That means you're valuing your time at two 49 times three it's seven 47 per hour. So think about it. If someone were to come up to you right now and offer you $7 and 47 cents per hour to do something, would you do it? [08:24.4]

Jonathan: No.

James: No way. I hope not. But these are people. And I thought, Oh no, whether it's a broke college students or maybe the unemployed, they don't have anything else to do with their time. So I remember going back like the next week and really paying attention to this. There are people in suits.

Jonathan: Wow!

James: Shirts and ties. I was like, I would, I would bet money that you, you make five times as much as this. Just being judgmental, of course, I'm just judging you based on your appearance.

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. [09:16.4]

James: But I'm probably right. I'm probably to probably professionals who work at JP Morgan. Cause that was a pretty big company in that area. A different banks, PNC bank is huge in Pennsylvania. They've got banking professionals who are just waiting for that coffee and getting up half an hour early to wait in line. And I know some of you may be thinking, come on James, you can assign a dollar value to all your time. You've got to do stuff in life that you don't get paid for. That's poverty thinking. That's what keeps you poor.

Jonathan: Taaaa…daaaaa.

James: Just, I'm not trying to meet people in the middle here. It, it just, it just doesn't because all the highly successful people, not just financial advisors, but people in general, they all do this. They're all hyper conscious of the fact that their time is worth something. They don't squander it, waiting for coffee somewhere. And it amazes me how much more money now, money isn't everything. But if you're in business and money is way to keep score and your business to make money. You probably want to be conscious of this. [10:25.6]

And this has everything to do with marketing and business building, by the way, because it dictates the terms upon which you extract money from your business. Because if your business is attached to your time, which it is, there is no other way. Even the people who claim to earn passive income, it just doesn't exist. Because even when you're building a team who does, the team does everything for you. Even if you spend 10 minutes teaching the team, you still will have a piece of your time go on, right? It's just that when they make a hundred dollars, you made a hundred dollars in 10 minutes. And then when they grow and they make a thousand and then a hundred thousand, a million you're, there's still a time. There's still an amount of time attached to that dollar amount. So how you spend your time, did it dictates the terms upon which you extract money from your business? So would you rather extract $10 per unit at the time or a hundred dollars per unit at a time? The answer should be clear. [11:15.3]

And I also recognize there are some people who believe you can somehow outsource everything in your business. You can, I guess, go on a vacation for 10 years and you can come back. And somehow everything is running smoothly and it's not just smoothly, it's better. It's better than when you left it. And I hate to break it to you, but that's a pipe dream because at the end of the day, your business is yours. It is your baby. It is up to you to make the right decisions and steer the ship. I know we mentioned Tesla. So do you realize there are stories about Elon Musk literally sleeping on the floor of the Tesla assembly line. About him, seriously he was like literally putting car parts on the cars and he was supervising the people to make sure everything went the way he wanted it. Do you think Elon Musk buys into this outsource everything Hardy, har har B S no. [12:14.8]

I mean, now that's not what he does every day. He doesn't just sit there and put car parts on every single day. He doesn't stay on the assembly line every single day. He's still working on his business, but he also gets his hands dirty with the nitty gritty. I don't know about you, but I'm going to take my advice from Elon Musk. I mean, this guy's worth like 50, 60, $70 billion at this point. I'm going to listen to him. I'm going to do what he does. Maybe not this specific stuff and maybe not the bad parts of what he does. But if he is doing, if he's working both on his business and in his business, maybe there's a reason for that. Warren buffet does the same thing. Bill Gates does the same thing. There've been stories of Bill Gates, sleeping in the office, working with managers. Yes, he's delegating, but at the same time, he's also making the decisions within his business. So I'm going to take advice from those people. I'm not going to listen to Chad or Jason down at the country club. Cause Chad likes to talk about how he hired a manager and he still made $200,000 last year. Like, woo-hoo, yay Chad, here's your medal. It’s just goofy. And don't get it twisted though. Do not get it twisted. Elan is not doing $50 per hour work when he's down on that assembly line. [13:24.5]

Don't you dare think he is just because other, his employees are working on the assembly line and they're making $50 per hour. Elan is not doing $50 per hour work. Get this, when he's on that assembly line, he's doing million dollar per hour work because he's seeing his people. He's understanding his business on a deeper level. He's getting a more profound appreciation for what the customer is getting. That's heavy stuff. But back to how financial advisors cripple the productivity, one way financial advisors basically destroyed their businesses, destroyed the productivity is by overloading their brains with a bunch of unnecessary material. I don't know about you financial advisors, but whenever I sit down and I make a to do list, I feel relieved. I feel this sense of catharsis or whatever, because I've gotten the material out of my head and onto paper. And I know I won't forget the steps because I got a reference. I can always come back and say, Hey, well, what did I write down last week? What did I write down a month ago? And Jonathan, I see that you have a pretty good handle on this because I saw the video you posted a while back about how you wear the same thing every day. [14:30.7]

Jonathan: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. That's that, that helps out a lot. No decision necessary.

James: Yeah. And I mean, I took a card from your book. I mean, I wear the same thing. We're the same black hoodie pretty much every day. And if I'm on a call with a financial advisor, if financial advisor once do that and they end up booking, I throw on my advisor coach shirt, or my advisor coach hoodie. That's that's about as far as I take it.

Jonathan: The Uniform.

James: But otherwise, yeah, it could be a professional and standing up, but I just wear the same black hoodie every single day and wear the same shorts. And then when it gets a little colder, I'm going to wear the same pants every single day. So taking a card out of your book there, it's just a brilliant strategy for preventing decision fatigue. Studies have proven that you really do, and you get fatigued as you make decisions. So don't waste your energy, trying to figure out what you'll have for breakfast. What's your, where, where you'll go for dinner. What you're going to do today. If you're going to have that meeting or not? [15:29.4]

Don't waste your energy, trying to decide in advance whether you're going to follow up with someone, whether you're gonna prospect on LinkedIn, whether you're going to write another email. Plan all that stuff in advance, because while this may seem trivial, each decision adds up. And if you want a little bit more information about this, please go back and listen to episode 35 of the podcast it's called, ‘Is This The Best Productivity “Hack” Ever For Financial Advisors?’ And I talk about that concept in much more detail there. Now another bad productivity habit is actually overworking yourself. Some people they delude themselves into thinking that productivity is about doing more and more and more. I know I struggle with this sometimes and doing more productivity I mean, it's true to an extent productivity is about getting more output from the same input, but there comes a point at which you start to get diminishing returns. You won't be as effective if you're burned out. [16:25.8]

And I'm going to butcher the pronunciation of this word, but there's a Japanese word Karoshi I believe. And I'm sure someone will correct me. It literally means overwork death. And basically it's sudden death while on the job, typically from a heart attack or a stroke. and the first case of Karoshi, maybe I'm saying it right. I hope I am. It was first reported in 1969 with the stroke related death of a 29 year old in the shipping department of a Japanese newspaper company. And the term was invented in 1978. It has been bringing attention to this problem ever since. Hmmm…Crazy, crazy, crazy that people would actually work themselves to death. And in Japan, there was a group of lawyers. They actually in end doctors, they set up Karoshi hotlines, the nationally available. They're dedicated to helping people who suffer from overwork. This is a, for real, no joke, occupational hazard. And while your situation may not be as extreme as having a heart attack while you're on the job, you've probably experienced some stress at some time or another. [17:27.7]

And fortunately for you, I'm going to plug another episode because there's another podcast episode you should listen to. This time it's episode 53, how financial advisors can conquer stress. That's where I did an interview with Dr. Jack Singer, the guy is a world renowned expert on stress and performance. So if anybody can help you with stress as a financial advisor, it's him and I, I personally think that scaling back your efforts, that's a win win, because not only will you ease your burden a little bit, it will force you to evaluate all the tasks in your business. It will force you to figure out which ones are truly the most important, because if you only have, if like, if you only had to work 20 hours per week, like you were forced to do that due to a family situation or health concerns, what would you do? How would your business change? And it's a good thought experiment. If you want to think about that every so often, I highly recommend it because it's used to flesh out all the nonsense that is accumulated for you and in your business over the years. [18:25.9]

If you had to work, let's do 10 hours. If you had to work 10 hours a week, what would you do to make sure you could do that? So you could take care of that family members. So you could get back to whatever hobbies, you could do whatever you want. And I'll leave you with one more specific, bad productivity habit. Doing the easy stuff first. This is related to decision fatigue as well, because if you use your precious energy to do the easy stuff, like first thing in the morning, you won't have as much energy to do whatever's left later in the day. And I used to struggle with this and being completely open and being a little vulnerable here. Thankfully I did fix it pretty early and I haven't had much of a problem since. When I wake up in the morning, I'm at my desk within 30 minutes, sometimes much sooner if their inner circle questions, which I mean at this point every single day, there are inner circle questions. I will answer them first because my inner circle members are my priority. They get, they get asked me anything. They get my best and brightest advice. And first thing in the morning when I'm at my absolute peak and mental clarity, they get me cause they're entitled to that. They pay for it. So I'm doing that. [19:34.6]

And sometimes I'll write out something for the inner circle newsletter itself. Maybe I plan out these podcast episodes, or I write an email where I review whatever project we're working on as a company in that time. I've also found that by starting with the hard stuff first, you basically, you eliminate the dread. You eliminate this fear in the back of your mind and knowing that it's coming, a weight gets lifted off your shoulders, which means you can focus better on the other stuff. And the other stuff might even seem easier to you if you're putting off the easy task and then when you finally get to him, it's just that much easier. So to recap, the worst habit you need to get rid of is viewing your time as if it's free. As if it's abundant. It is not, remember the people in the Dunkin donuts line, they were pissing the life away for a free coffee. They weren't cognizant of the value of their time. This has to be in the back of your mind, constantly. Dollar value of time, dollar value of time, dollar value of time. [20:33.8]

And other bad habits include overloading your brain with unnecessary material, overworking yourself and doing the easy stuff first. So I hope this helps you. I really want you to become more productive because if you do, it is directly tied to an increase in your business as a financial advisor. Don't skip over this, ignore this advice at your own peril.

Jonathan: Hmm.

James: And that's it for this.

Jonathan: What do you have coming up for next time, James?

James: Next time we're going to take it back to marketing or at least marketing in an explicit sense. I'm going to talk about three of my favorite marketing strategies that are working right now.

Jonathan: All right. That is a wrap financial advisor marketers. If you've been listening to the show for a while, why not drop a like or a comment or a rating on iTunes’ James won’t ask for it, but I will. So we have some stuff to talk about next time. Then he gets some good reviews or bad ones. We will be back in your earbuds next time. Thank you for tuning in. [21:30.2]

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