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: Hey, financial advisors I've got a special treat for you this week. It's an interview I did with Matt Jarvis from theperfectria.com and The Perfect RIA podcast. Both him and Micah, they are two people I really respect, and I'm glad that he reached out to me because after listening to them for quite a while, I feel like we approach business in many of the same ways. Of course, I'm obviously more focused on marketing, it’s a financial advisor marketing show, and they're more focused on building lifestyle businesses, but really, I think you need both. Obviously you need good marketing to build the business you want, and because you have a life and other priorities, you'll probably want to take time off to do the things that you want to do. Spend time with family, go to the beach, if that's your thing, travel, if that's your thing. So I think the two ideas go together like peanut butter and jelly. In the interview itself, we talk about several different topics, but I promise that all this stuff ties together well. And as you're listening, I want you to think about how you can be intentional when it comes to building your business. That's the message that he wants to get through to you and I think it's incredibly valuable. Now on to the show. [01:33.8]
Financial advisors, I have a treat for you today. This is going to be a video that will probably maybe, I don't know, get edited into podcast that we can have the audio on the Financial Advisor Marketing Podcast. I actually have Matt Jarvis from The Perfect RIA podcast. I actually love it, and it's funny because I listened to these episodes and I'm like, is this me? Like, are they me? Am I living in an alternate reality? At the time of this recording, it is September 15th and the most recent episode that they released was about basically charging more. And before we hit record on the video, Matt and I were talking about how it's very important for financial advisors to realize the value that they bring to the table. And the example you use Matt in your episode was a guy who basically said, I don't understand how people can charge $15,000. And I think the way you explained it was amazing. So can you explain why it’s possible to the advisors who are listening? [02:27.6]
Matt: Yeah, I'd be glad to. And I think James, to your point, right? We get too hung up in our minds on this field, like, Hey, this is, the right number is this or the right percentage is that and we sort of cower behind it and prospects sense that. They're like, well, wait, if you're not sure about this fee, why should I be sure? But there was a LinkedIn post, a guy that was saying, Hey, you know, you can't charge anybody more than 15,000. That's absurd. And so Mike and I like you, we just had the stuff had always said, well, wait, if you're bringing $20,000 a value of 30,000, $50,000 of value, then by all means charge accordingly. But then again, if you're not bringing any value, then, then don't charge and get out of the industry, right? So we can, we can take this on the whole spectrum.
James: Totally. I mean, we live in a world of, and I say this to advisors all the time. It's just like, we live in a world of monetary exchange.
Matt: Yup. [03:10.4]
James: You give money to give value. Even if it's the smallest things, you're purchasing a $5 cup of coffee, you hope to get more than $5 worth of value into your life, it's just the scale. And if I pay $15,000 and get $15,500, that's a positive exchange. It's the world we live in. So financial advisors are not exceptions to this. There's there's not like this weird rule. Right. And you said on the podcast, you said, people have a choice. It's not communist China.
James: They don't have to be forced to work with you. And I was like, this guy, he gets it right.
Matt: A hundred percent, right. And you gave the example of, of coffee, right? I'm from Seattle, so Starbucks headquarters here and you know, when, when you go into a Starbucks, they don't say, Hey, I know it's $7 for this latte that you could make at home for 50 cents. But you know, down the road at Dunkin Donuts it’s 3.75, but the cups are nicer here and therefore they don't go into that. They just say, Hey, if you want a Starbucks latte, it's seven bucks and would you like a $12 scone to go with it? And to your point, they know like this is a voluntary transaction, people who don't want to pay $12 for a scone, won't do it. And so it's pretty easy. Let's let the consumer decide if they want to pay that much. [04:17.5]
James: Yeah. I think it's important for financial advisors to get that. And I wanted to throw that in there because it is super important. But the reason I wanted to talk with you.
James: Is because you said something about taking six months of vacation per year. And I said, gosh, darn it. I've got to talk to this guy. And here we are. I mean, this is not like at some fancy meeting and this is not advancing, but you have four to six months of vacation per year. How the heck do you do it? [04:42.6]
Matt: Yeah, yeah. Well, let me get a couple of just definitions out on the table, so we're all on the same page. So obviously a calendar year has 52 weeks, let's ignore holidays for a second cause some advisors work holidays, heaven forbid. So 52 weeks means there's 260 working days, right? On a five day work week. So six months’ vacation, that'd be 26 weeks or 130 work days. The reason I mentioned that is just to clarify that I don't leave the office for a one six month period of time, partly because I'd go crazy. I'd drive my family crazy. I like to be in and out. So I count every day that I'm not working. And I use kind of a strategic coach definition of that, which is for me personally, any day, I don't open my laptop or don't respond to emails.
So if I decide I need to respond to an email or I need to open my laptop, that is now a Work day, whether that was five minutes before I got, my kids got up, or if it was an entire day, once I'm responding to emails, once I've got my laptop open, that's a work day. So on that definition in 2017, 2018; I took 133 days off each of those years. So just over six months, 2019 was 109 days, I cut back just a little bit and this year is a COVID mess, so I haven't really been counting super well this year. [05:50.5]
James: Yeah. So I know that you and Micah in your podcast talk a lot about.
James: Building systems in businesses, having virtual assistants.
James: My business could not run without virtual assistants and contractors. That's how the whole.
James: That's how the advisorcoach is run, just being transparent. Do you have any tips or anything that financial advisors should know about hiring a virtual assistant? I know that's a broad question, but is there anything that you see come up again and again, like any skepticisms, any objections per se? [06:19.5]
Matt: Yeah. Yeah, I think what I see most often with advisors and this is where they can't take this much time off. They say, Hey, I can't delegate that, right. And James, I know you've talked about that, right? Like everything can be delegated. You just need to do the things that deliver value. So when I'm out of the office and a client calls and says, Hey, I need $5,000 for whatever, my team can handle that they don't need to call me we have a system in place for that. Then again, if the, if the client calls in and says, I need half of my portfolio sent out to me, okay, well, you're going to need to wait until Tuesday until Matthew's back in the office and you're gonna have to discuss that with him, unless it's an emergency and then we'll get him on the phone. But short of that, he'll call you on Tuesday, is that okay? And so I've empowered my team. I don't want them to have to make excuses for me, like, well, you know, maybe Matthew's busy, he'll call you in a little bit. But Matthew's out with his family, he'll call you on Tuesday. [07:05.4]
James: Yeah. It's so amazing how much people can do and how well they do it, if you just empower them, just give them the rope, right. Don't keep them chained up and micromanage, just let them do the work. They, they probably do it better than you do and handle it better. And it's not a bad thing.
Matt: Yeah, yup. You know, in a key there eventually, like when you said, when you give them the rope, sometimes they're going to make mistakes. If only because I also make mistakes. And for that to work, whether it's a virtual assistant or somebody in your office, you have to go back and approach the system and not say, wow, you know, James, you really screwed this one on, how did you not know this? Then set a step back and say, all right, where did I take extreme ownership? Where did I not create a system, a system for you to succeed? And maybe it's, I didn't manage client expectations that I was going to be gone with my family. Or maybe it was, we didn't be, we weren't proactive with our financial planning advice, whatever it is. I need to take ownership of that and give you a system to succeed. [07:58.2]
James: Yeah, without a doubt. When you go a day and this is, I guess, kind of selfish because this is coming from me personally, when you go a day without opening your laptop, do you feel this urge just to do stuff? Like, do you feel like you should be doing more? Do you have this like creeping anxiety in the back of your mind? I do. Whenever I try to go a day without working, there's just something there's like, do it, keep working, keep working. And I can't beat it.
James: Does it happen to you?.
Matt: No, no, it definitely did early on. And of course work is also very seductive. Like it's, it's a real dopamine thing for, for those of us that are entrepreneurs. Like, man, I could, I could hang out for the day or I could take my business to the next level. Let me do that. It's so satisfying. It's like an addiction for us. So you've kind of got this like drug addiction to your business and then you've got this anxiety if I, if I'm not working there. I make sure that my days out of the office, they're not spent lounging around. So I juggle four or five different hobbies. So if I'm not working, I'm out dirt biking. I'm taking my kids out to the park where always doing things like my personal time is at least as productive as my work time. Otherwise James, to your point, I'm getting pulled back in. I'm like, man, I'm wasting my life here. I should be, I should be at work. [09:03.6]
James: Well, there are some advisors who have reached out to me in the past.
James: I don't do coaching or consulting anymore publicly, but they came to me and they were like, well, I want to design lifestyle business. And I even did a podcast episode on it and I was completely upfront. I was like; I am not necessarily the lifestyle guy.
James: And I think that's the only real big difference between my philosophy and The Perfect RIA philosophy is that you are much more, I don't want to say in control, but essentially that's what it is in control of the systems and the processes. And I'm more of like a slave driver.
James: Essentially. But that, that is something I had to turn them away. Cause I was like, I fear like I'm going to taint you or something because I'm going to tell you to constantly go after it, constantly market, constantly build your business. And these are people who just want to make a half a million dollars a year and just coast. And that's fine. I mean, that's completely fine. And I feel like you are perfect for that. You just help people get to where they want to go and then live their life and enjoy it and do things they want to do. [10:05.20]
Matt: Yeah. I want to draw two things you just said there one, I always laugh to myself only in our industry do we say like just a half a million dollars? Like I find myself saying the thing like, ah, I mean, if you're fine, if you're content with a half million dollars a year of income, never mind that puts you in the 1% of Americans in the one 10th of 1% of all people on planet earth. But you know, if you're a kind of a lazy bone that's I just want to laugh at that time there too. But I did want to acknowledge you for turning away that client, that wasn't a good fit. I know you and I have both talked about the importance of niches and of narrowing down and saying no to people and that guy who called you, I'm sure he was ready to write a check.
Matt: Because that's how you run. Like, if you wanna talk to me, you gotta write a check and you were saying, Hey, I'm going to turn away that check because this is not where I deliver massive value, which is why you can command a premium fee. Like, man, I'm only going to work where I deliver massive value and I'm gonna charge you accordingly. [10:52.1]
James: So where do you think, did you deliver massive value for financial advisors? Like what is the thing that you do best? Where if someone says you got 30 seconds, what is the biggest thing that you can do to make a difference in my life? Go? What would it be?
Matt: For a financial planner?
Matt: Be intentional about your practice.
Matt: That’s really the thing, like so much of what we do in our practices, whether it's marketing or how we do our client meetings. It's just by default; it's sort of like accidental. I do it this way. Cause I started doing it this way or somebody told me, or this is how the world works. It's really just be intentional and kind of didn’t realize that things are possible. So this idea of taking 130 vacation days a year, I got there because an advisor I met dared me to just start counting, like actually recording the number of days I didn't work or free days is Dan Sullivan would call it, call them first year I recorded it with 60 days. And then once I started measuring it, the number just kept cranking up and cranking up. It was like almost a challenge to myself. I would plan ahead like, all right, like I make sure I get more days off this year than I did before. And the nice forcing mechanism there is, I had to then be so much more intentional about everything else in my practice, I couldn't work with people that weren't in my niche because I didn't have time for it. You know, I, I couldn't just play off this cause I didn't have time to play office. I had to get in and get my work done, get the hell out or I wouldn't hit my goals. [12:03.4]
James: Hmm. That's very interesting. Good. I kind of do the same thing with money and I know you say that you're only just a half a million dollars or whatever. That's so fascinating because I'm kind of like if you want to do $1,000 per hour work.
James: Only do $1,000 per hour working. Call you in there, you got to work. You have no choice, but to do high value things, if you want to get the $1,000 per hour.
James: So I guess, my next thought will be, is it possible for someone to, rather than take the whole day off? Let's say they work for the full five days a week. Is it possible for a financial planner or a financial advisor to work two hours a day or three hours a day? Did it just work less than that sense? [12:44.9]
Matt: It totally is. So even Dan Sullivan, strategic coach framework of free days, right? He's a real advocate that it'd be 24 hours of, you know, from midnight to midnight, whatever it is. I'm again about being intentional. I have good advisor friends that they work from noon to 4:00 PM each day. And that's just their thing. They get up in the morning, they do Cross Fit. They spend time with their kids. They do whatever they work for four hours in the afternoon and then they're done and they say, Matthew, I would much rather do that than take every Friday off. Perfect. Perfect. My hobbies require an entire day. So I want a full day off. But again, James, if you're intentional about, if you say this is my plan, not, Hey, I'm going to, and I want to make sure we're distinguishing an intentional lifestyle practice from what are we gonna call it? Lazy practice. If you're saying, ehh, I got to drag my ass, my butt, excuse me into the office. Whenever I feel like it's and I'm kind of going to just work until I feel like going home, that's not a lifestyle practice. That's a lazy practice.
Matt: That's just, you're slacking off. So I really want to draw a line between those. [13:37.7]
James: Yeah. And some people just want to be lazy about it. These are, I call them the copycat advisors. We're in a marketing sense. They just look at what everyone else is doing and they copy them and no breakthroughs happen. But I feel like I would fall more into the work three hours a day, every single day. But I get you. Where are your hobbies? I didn't even think about that. Where your hobbies take a full day? Well, of course, and that's where you're being intentional and it makes perfect sense.
So if a financial advisor wants to go hunting or fishing or whatever it takes the whole day,
James: That's, it's like mind blowing to some people that that's even possible, but it totally is.
Matt: Yeah. I've also got to know what works for me. So half days don't work for me as well because I, I have a really hard time hanging it up at, at noon. Like, like today, if I wanted to stop at noon, I probably would go to like 1230 to one to two to three. Cause I would get so engulfed in the work and I wouldn't step away. So having a clean day, that's just what works for me. Again, I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses. [14:31.4]
For, for example, on my phone I can't or on my computer, nowhere can I have email popups because I'll stop whatever I'm doing like a kid and I'll just like, Oh, an email came in. I better go look at this and I'll interrupt all of my flow. So I have no email popups. I don't even have the outlook like button on my computer. Like I have to click like five different to get through to my email just to keep me from being distracted by it. Cause it's, it's like an addiction for me.
Matt: It doesn't come up with my phone, all those things. So it's what works for you. [15:00.3]
James: Does Micah have any of those weird quirks or weird qualities that he has to
Matt: Oh Jesus!
James: Put the force field in front of him?
Matt: Well, Micah never checks his own email period. So he hasn't for a couple of years. So he does not respond to any email. Micah also, here's a quirk from Micah. Since he's not on the call today, Micah absolutely refuses to fill out any forms. A part of this and this is not disrespect to Micah; he's a little bit dyslexic. And so he doesn't like writing things out, which by the way, notice how he's a phenomenally successful advisor, despite having what people would call it, disability phenomenally successful. He says, I will not fill out any forms no matter what. I don't care where I am. Even if he goes to the doctor's office, he'll say fax that form to my office, they'll fill it out and send it back and I'll sign it. They're like we can't do that. All right, well, I'll go find a new doctor then. So he's just like, Hey, this isn't an energy building activity for me. I'm not going to spend my time filling out any forms no matter what. End of story.
James: You know what’s was weird, I just found out a couple of days ago that it's possible to give somebody, I didn't know this, but I guess the whole world knew this. I don't know. I just found out a couple of days ago that was possible to give somebody else power of attorney to handle like car registrations and everything like that. They can't get licenses for you. [16:03.2]
James: But they can go to the DMV and they can do car registrations in the buy and sell and all the paperwork. You can give somebody else to do that.
James: The power of attorney I had, no, I had no idea. And I'm going to buy a car soon and you, you better believe I'm doing that.
James: So it's, it really is truly amazing with what's possible. When you want to basically do something that's worth your time versus not. I don't want to go to DMV for, it's going to take three hours.
Matt: I know.
James: You know, driving, they're driving back, staying there, filling out the forms. I'd rather just pay somebody. And it's only like $150 to get them to go and handle it.
Matt: Totally. And to your comment earlier, about $1,000 an hour a time, right? We have so we'll agree to this concept, right? Nobody argues that like, well, you know, I think my time is only worth $27. We all agree that your time should be worth a $1,000 now. But then we have all of these activities that we say, well, except for this, except for registering my car, like I have to go physically do that myself. No you don't. [16:57.0]
For example, I don't ever book any of my own air travel; my office manager takes care of that. I don't ever book. I will never book appointments on my calendar. Coleen, my office manager handles that. Anybody, if anyone on the phone with a client like, Hey Matthew, can I talk to you next week? Sure. Let me hand you off to Coleen she'll get you on my calendar. Well, Matthew can't you put me on your calendar? No, I don't mess with the calendar. And I make a joke. I'm like, well, I'll break the calendar, if I touch it. You know, Coleen handles that. And they're like, well, all right. I guess. So, yeah you got to do only things that only you can do. That's how I can get this much time off. If I spent my days standing in line at the DMV, I'd never get any time off. [17:28.4]
James: But I think it's important to throw in there that so the people you work with don't like you any less, they don't think any less of you because you have someone else do this. A lot of advisors would be, would worry that, Oh, Bill won't like me or he'll think that I'm ineffective or inefficient or whatever. No, nothing changes. They still appreciate you. They still value your time. They're still willing pay you for what you do. It's just that you've got somebody else handling the little details, right?
Matt: Yep. Yep.
James: Yeah. [17:54.6]
Matt: Same goes with being reactive to clients versus responsive. And so advisors are, while I'm out of the office, like I, I took once a six month boat trip. So I was out of the office for six months. I came back to the office twice for two, two week periods of client meetings. But I was in the Bahamas for six months. And again, my head trash was like, wait, if clients find out of living on a boat in The Bahamas, surely, surely they will run for the Hills. Surely they will quit. So instead I told all my clients in advance, I said, Hey, I have this opportunity of a lifetime to take my family on this boat trip. I'll never be more than 48 hours away. So if anything comes up, I will top on it. I'll charter a plane from wherever I'm at and I'll fly back home and I'll be there within 48 hours. Otherwise it will be good. And so I was up front with everybody. I was up front with my team, but setting aside an extreme scenario like that, hopefully nobody listened to this as taking telephone calls at like two o'clock in the morning while they're in the shower, right? That's an extreme example, but you're not. [18:45.8]
But if a client calls in at three in the afternoon on a Friday, there is no rule that says you need to be there to take that call. Now you do need to be there to have someone there to manage the expectation, but the expectation can be, Hey, Matthew is out with his family today, he'll call you on Tuesday, is that okay with you? And 99 times out of a hundred, they'll say, yes, that's great. One time out of a hundred they'll say, no, this is emergency. Perfect. Let's get Matthew on the phone then to take care of this emergency. [19:08.3]
James: Talk some more about the one out of the 100, like the I'm interested just to curiosity that have you ever had any like true nightmares? Like where they insist?
Matt: I've actually never, never had it, it happened. And a couple of the things that play into this. So we'll run through the scenario real quick. The client calls in, Hey, I need to talk to Matthew. Colleen, my office manager says, you know what? Matthew is not available right now, by the way, she's never going to say, let me check to see if he's available. That's code for, let me see if you're important enough.
Matt: For him to talk to you, so.
James: That is so smart.
Matt: Yeah, it's the truth though, right? If you call somewhere James and they said, well, James, let me see if so and so is available. They know if he's there or not. It's Hey, James is on the phone. Do you want to talk to him? No not really. I'll call him later. So Colleen says, Hey, Matthew is not available. He can call you tomorrow at two o'clock, is that okay with you? And they say, yes, that's fine. And then Colleen says, great, what can I tell them that it's regarding? And they'll say, Oh, I just want to change my monthly distribution. Great news, I can take care of that and she'll take care of it. [20:07.2]
If it's not, if they're like, Hey, my CPA's angry about the Roth conversion. Perfect. I'll make sure Matthew is ready to talk about that tomorrow at two o'clock. And then when I get on the phone tomorrow at two o'clock, instead of me picking up the phone randomly, when they called and scrambling around, I'm ready, I'm like, all right, we've got the stuff. In fact, I talked to the CPA, we've cleared everything up. Everything's good. Boom. Off we go
James: It’s better for you because you're prepared. You've got a response.
James: You you've got your system ready, all the tools that you may need. If there's a file, a client file, if you've got your CRM, you can load that up. If you like you said, you talked with the CPA and it's better for the client because they value their time too, you get it done. And it makes you look better because when you are that prepared and when you have time to actually, I don't not be reactive, but be proactive.
Matt: Yeah be proactive.
James: You look like a rock star. [20:51.8]
Matt: Oh, totally, totally. I think this plays into a bigger thing about your weeks, whether we're talking about vacation days, right days out of the office or, or afternoons out of the office of that's your thing. The time that you're in the office has to be super intentional. And James, you mentioned earlier copycat marketers, right?
Matt: They'll see an advisor and they'll think, Oh, all I need to do is copy her email text or her social media posts and I'm there. And they miss the quality of course and they, they just, they don't see the investment that, that person's made. And again, I know you advocate for it. If you're going to do a marketing strategy, you really got to block time out. Not just one time, not just one email, this has gotta be a full process. And that's where a lot of advisors go wrong I think as they haphazardly say, well, I'll sort of do this when I feel like it I'll call clients when I feel like it, I'll do meetings when I feel like it. And there's no efficiency there. [21:35.9]
James: Well, the reason they would want to work with someone like you or Micah is so they can see the backstage stuff. There are so, not a lot of advisors and a lot of other people know me now for like the email marketing stuff and email marketing and it's what I've pushed for quite some time. And I've, I've sent millions of emails. I've done email for years, but they don't see the behind the scenes stuff. They don't see the relationship that is built with the list. They don't see the different segmentation that is done. [22:04.8]
James: All they see is the opt-in form. And I talk with Ben settle, who I consider to be the greatest email marketer ever. He said the same exact thing. He said that he has two opt-ins. He has one opt-in that it performs better, meaning it gets more people to join the email list, but the end result is terrible, but that's the one that everybody copies because it gets more conversions. But the one that gets fewer conversions on the front, where less people enter the email, it actually performs way better in the backend. So getting someone like you or Micah is, it's not just so you can sit down and just talk about the superficial stuff, it's so you can like truly pull back the curtain and say, this is what my assistant does. These are the systems. This is how we operate. This is the stuff you don't see when you're going to my website or when you're trying to scope me out. And that's where the true value is, in my opinion. [22:53.0]
Matt: Yeah, it really is. And like you said same with your work, James, right? You've sent so many of these emails and again, email, it's just one facet of your marketing approach, but we can look and say, this isn't just you with good ideas. Our industry is besieged with people that have good ideas. And then you peel back the curtain like great. How many advisors have you actually helped? Like how many clients have you actually brought in? And then they kind of get really quiet and they're staring at their shoes. And I know that as early in my career, I fell for a lot of those. And fell for, I mean, I borrowed a lot of money for great strategies that didn't work. And that's why I was really drawn to your podcast. Like, well, this is somebody you can tell who is actually doing it. They know what they're talking about. This isn't theory. [23:27.4]
James: So what is the, what are some of the worst marketing strategies you've tried is like buying a leads list. Cause I hear that a lot. [23:33.2]
Matt: Oh yeah. You know, I've, I've done that before years ago. In fact, I think one time I paid, Oh geez. I hate to admit these. This was years ago. I paid $5,000 for five appointments with 401k. I'm sure you've seen this one, right?
Matt: Hey, these are people that want to change their 401k. I know there was all sorts of problems here. The most glaring one with leads list is if the leads were so hot, why don't they keep them? Right. So that's sort of glaring things were. Well, I didn't know a darn thing about 401k plans. When I went and met with these people, they had obviously been badgered into this meeting and they really had no intention of making any changes. It was a disaster all the way around. That was not my last time making that mistake. It took me a few iterations to figure that one out. But yeah, if leads are hot, why don't they keep them? [24:15.1]
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James: Well, the problem with lead gen companies, I hate to paint with a broad brush because this is not true for every single one.
James: But nine times out of 10, they start with amazing leads because there's a, there's a pool that they found. There's a certain survey they've sent out. They've stumbled across something great. And they, they, the first batch of leads.
James: Is amazing. But then they go away. So they have their, they send them out to financial advisors and now you're left with not so many leads. So you've got to generate more. And what happens is, do you have two levers. Lever number one is the cost per lead. And lever number two is the quality per lead. So if you want to maintain the same exact quality, the cost has to go up.
James: So over time, financial advisors pay more for leads. And if you want to maintain the same cost, the quality goes down. So it may be great at first, but eventually it's going to suck. So I see that
Matt: Yeah. [25:36.6]
James: More than I'd like to, honestly.
Matt: Yeah, it's a heartbreaker. And I think part of that falls into admittedly I think we're all looking for a silver bullet. Like, Hey, there's gotta be an easy way to build my, to fill my marketing funnel. There's gotta be an easy way to build my practice if only because when you meet successful advisors, they make it sound like it was really easy. Like, Oh, I just, I just see the people. Well, you saw thousands of people over years and you refined your message and you cultivated your list. And then it finally cold turned into something and so that all this work like the icebergs theory, right? All the work is it can't be seen. And anyway, it's a mistake I made a lot of times.
James: Those are dead on, the iceberg theory. You don't see the success. And I think that a lot of people, when they first stumble across my stuff, whether it's the podcast or the blog or anything like that, the gut reaction is it's either, wow, I love this guy. Or I absolutely loathe him. I cannot stand him. The people who cannot stand him. It's good. I say stuff like be rubs people the wrong way, but it tends to be true. The successful here's one, [26:38.7]
Matt: What is it?
James: The successful advisors, when you study them, you tend to ignore survivorship bias. It's when people say just work hard and be persistent and never give up and you'll be successful. With that. I don't want to diminish that, but you're ignoring all of the people who were also persistent yet failed.
James: And that's a big problem too. And a lot of the stuff that you talk about on your podcast, you're talking about the actual real stuff that people are doing and their survivorship bias is accounting for it most of the time. You can never completely eliminate it.
James: But if you have 100 people who all do this thing and the people who don't do the thing, don't get the results, it's easy to see that what you've got works. [27:27.5]
Matt: Oh, totally, totally. Yeah survivorships. The survivorship bias is a big part. And by the way, I love that your content is something I think that drew us together is that the content is great for some people and it's abrasive almost offensive to other people. And that's really what an advisor's niche needs to be. If your niche isn't chasing away, almost everyone then it's not, it's not actually a niche, right? So James, I get you. If you were like, Hey, we can do this for everyone. Doctors, accountants, attorneys, veterinarians. Like if you're like, Oh, the whole world, in fact, everyone's our client, or you mentioned the lifestyle guy earlier, I can help everyone. The reality is you can help no one and no one's really going to pay attention. Right? The world is too crowded with information for them to pay attention to a generalist. [28:06.1]
James: Yeah. That's one of the things that I think that we are finally in 2020 on the verge of people are getting it in a waking up and realizing that specializing is the way to go. They need, they need to do it a little bit more. It needs to be.
Matt: Yeah, yeah.
James: A little bit more specialization. Cause business owners, I don't think is a valid niche and women is not, I mean, half the population are retirees. It's just, I appreciate the effort. And I appreciate that they're trying something, but it's just not enough. I personally tend to go for occupation, niches, and that's what advisors do like with LinkedIn and whatnot. It’s very easy to do, but have you found any niches that you see advisors having success with? Is there anything that you'd like to mention about niche marketing? [28:51.9]
Matt: I'm with you there. The narrower, the better I, that’s like a rule of thumb, I wouldn't want your niche to be smaller than 10 times, your ideal client size. So if you're, if you're trying to get a hundred clients, I wouldn't pick a niche that was smaller than a thousand people. Right? So if your niche is like people with the last name of Jones who live on a street that ends with a Y like that, it's just too few. But to your point, everyone's trying to be too broad. Like they're like, well, my niches is, well, I'll use this one because I'll pick one myself. My niche is retirees. Great. So we've narrowed it down to like, I don't know, 60 million people. Okay, well that's too broad unless you're Fidelity or Schwab or Vanguard, you can't hit an audience that big. So like I narrow mine down geographically. I'm like, Hey, retirees that are in my geographic area, like who are within like a 20 mile radius of my office. Those are the only people I want to reach out to. Cause that's a small enough niche that I can target. [29:40.4]
Now we’re not starting again, James, I would, I would pick yours. I would go with very specific to a, an occupation. Actually, I would just go to occupation. Cause people can self-identify with that. Retiree is harder to self-identify with. Have you say, I helped doctors not get ripped off in taxes when they sell their practice? Oh, that's interesting. Right? It makes me curious. You're speaking only to doctors who own a practice. You can narrow it down. [30:02.7]
James: Yeah. And one of the, one of my favorite books is called The Outsiders. And it's a book that talks about eight unconventional CEOs that's actually, that's just the title of the book. And these are people that other than Warren Buffet, most people have never heard of and they have outperformed. They are just kick butt CEOs. And their primary job that they found in this book was capital allocation. And I think one of the reasons that having a niche makes advisors more successful is because like you said, the niche is small enough to where you can blanket it, your resources go, it go farther in the niche. And I was on a call with advisors where I typed in financial advisor in the LinkedIn and like hundreds of thousands.
Matt: Yeah. [30:50.8]
James: In the States. And then I did Miami, Florida, and it was like 5,400 some. And I was like, I want you to understand that if my direct mail costs are less than $2, each if I have $10,000, I can reach every single one of these people, as long as I have their addresses.
James: I can reach them on LinkedIn, and I can reach them on direct mail. I can get in front of them multiple times. If you've got retirees 60 million, like you said, it's just like spitting into the Pacific Ocean. It doesn't make a darn difference. [31:21.0]
Matt: Yeah. And it's a niche. It's really not a niche. It's a demographic that every single other person is targeting. That's something I always remind myself is that, Hey, if you could throw money at, at marketing and have it solve all your issues, then the wirehouses would end up with all the clients. Now, by the way, they essentially have all the clients. So you have to play a game that they can't play. Right. They can't drill into a niche. Not yet like you and I can, someday they'll figure that out. But again, I have an advisor friend he only works with attorneys that have significant student loan debt, that's his niche.
Matt: I have another advisor friend; he only works with dentists that are buying practices. That's it? That's the only people he works with. And he's like the guy there, if you're a dentist coming out of dental school and you want to buy a practice, this is the guy you call in and talk about a narrow niche. Right. And nobody's interested in dentists coming out of dental school. Cause they just have student loan debt. They have no assets, no AUM. That's his niche. And he's crushing that niche, but it's super narrow. Like it's, it's scary. Narrow. [32:18.1]
James: Well, why would anybody want to hire a financial advisor anyway, when you can just use Wealthfront and Betterment? I mean, Betterment, I checked the other day.
James: Betterment helps me buy dental practices as well. I don't need financial advisors.
Matt: That's exactly right. So lets say, you say well but, but I'm the only, I I'm, I'm a CFP and nobody cares like your mom might be interested that no disrespect to your mom, but no, nobody else cares. Nobody's Googling for who's. You know, anyway, I'm going to rant on this one, but you're right. If, if you're trying to compete with Betterment on Betterment's playground, you're not going to win. You've got to find a playground where you can beat them. [32:52.0]
James: Feel free to rant. I don't care, but that's the way it is. And that's the way the cookie crumbles is that financial advisors, I know we started off this video with the financial advisor being skeptical of charging $15,000 per year. And for some people it's just an internal struggle. They can't accept charging that much. And they've got their own money beliefs. And you say, you say head trash. Did you get that from Perry Marshall? And I know he says that a lot.
Matt: I think I got it from Joe Lucas, but I'm sure lots of people say it.
Matt:I used to call it limiting beliefs; Stephanie Bogan always calls it, limiting beliefs. I like head trash cause it seems a little more funky, but I think it's pretty well used.
James: Yeah. Well that's, that's the thing. They have the head trash. They can't get over it, but its monetary exchange. If you, if I help you buy a dental practice and you it's it's $2 million and I help you save 10% and that's $200,000 right there. And then I help you avoid headaches down the road because I tell you a specific clause to put in your contract. I have one of my friends that I know that my attorneys, they look over it maybe for free because we're working together. I don't know. [33:58.0]
James: The consultation with the attorney may be another two or $3,000, like looking over the contract and stuff.
James: So where does the $15,000 for that? I mean, I wouldn't be AUM, but it'd be like a retainer model that.
James: At that point, but it just dwarfs it. The fee is dwarfed by the value. [34:15.3]
Matt: Yeah. There’s something I always say to prospects and it took me a lot of years to figure this out, but it's really just pure, pure gold is is, I tell prospects, when we talk about a fee, I say, Hey, it only makes sense to hire me if the value we provide is worth some multiple of the fee that we're charging. And that verbiage, by the way I got from Nick Murray, I'm a big fan of his, but where I take it, the next step further, as I say, listen, every quarter, you're going to see our feet up. By the way, if you're not charging a quarterly AUM for you can change this verbiage, right? Every quarter, you're going to see our fee as a line item it's going to say Jarvis financial advisory fee and a dollar amount. And you're going to look at that and I'm going to look at that. And if you think that our value is worth our fee, that we'll work together another quarter. And if you don't, then we need to have a quick discussion. And if we can't find a way to deliver value, we need to part ways as friends and I'll help you transfer your accounts wherever you want. And as a gesture of good faith, I'll refund my last quarters fee, is that okay with you? [35:05.5]
And the beauty of that approach, James is I've taken all of the buying pressure off of them. Up to before then I've been trying to get them to just trust me, like, well just trust me. You give me 15,000, it'll be worth 30. That's a pure trust play. This way I'm saying, Hey, I'm going to deliver value. And if I don't, then let's part ways as friends let's leave, which by the way was already their choice, right? They already have the legal ability to leave anytime they want. I'm just now like giving it to them. And so I've had prospects say, Hey well. Matthew, I'm just going to hire you for one quarter cause I don't think you're gonna build or deliver value on quarter two. Perfect. Now, by the way, they stuck around for the rest of their lives, but it took all of the buying pressure off of them. Same, same with my buddy that works with dentists and great here's my fee. It's a flat fee. If you don't think it's worth it, if we can't find the practice you want great I'll refund the fee. Easy enough. [35:49.3]
James: My, my wife this past Saturday just had a conversation with me about her financial advisor and the fees that her financial advisor was charging. So we we've been together for 10 years.
Matt: Oh congratulations!
James: And she's had her own financial advisor that I, we just never changed. And I've never really met with him, which speaks volumes that I've never met with them.
James: And I've got my own financial advisor. They don't know each other and she's never met him or whatever. But I do all this work with my advisor and I'm constantly on him about, not about fees, but different things.
James: And she came up to me and she was like, Hey, you do all this stuff for financial advisors, right? I was like, yeah, great. Now you notice. And she was like, so it says that the fee, and she went through the line items just like you were talking about. And she was like, so I'm essentially paying, you know, X, thousands of dollars for them to send me a birthday card. And I was like, yep. and manage your money.
Matt: Yeah. [36:45.0]
James: She's like, well, what am I alternatives? And I was like, well, honestly, you know, cause I'm the last person in the world to say fire your financial advisor.
James: But I was like, you got to do life management. You got to ask them questions about career advancement. And if you want to, we want to have a family or something. How much does this cost? What should we do here? It goes above and beyond mere money management. Because right now, if she's paying, I mean, compared to other things, a hefty fee.
James: For what is just money sitting there. [37:17.0]
Matt: Yeah, totally. And that's, by the way, we're fee compression exists, right? Our industry, we talk all the time about fee compression, but that, that only exists where you're a commodity play. If your value add is we're going to manage your assets, great Vanguard, we'll get you on the phone with a CFP for 30 bps. That's that's where fee compression is at. Right? And so if all you're doing is managing the money and sending birthday cards and giving generic advice.
Matt: Yeah, fees are going down there. If you're delivering massive value, if you're showing them how to save money on taxes, like you said, James, doing life planning, helping them buy their dental practice, whatever it is, if you're delivering value that they can't yet get from Google, that's where you can charge a premium fee. [37:53.1]
James: So I'm actually, I'm pulling it up on my computer right now.
James: There's gonna be extra valuable for whoever's listening to this. So in the October, 2020 inner circle newsletter, I talk about something very similar and that, because it's October, I've had Halloween trends.
Matt: Oh sure.
James: And like the terrifying trends shiver your spine. And I talk about how the proliferation of free financial planning tools and software is finally gaining traction with COVID-19 and the pandemic. A lot of people are starting to move towards the services.
James: I mean the money managed by the robo advisors is, is growing.
James: More than at a rapid pace or more rapid pace than it ever has. And I basically say that investments and money management have been commoditized over the past decade or so. There was a proliferation of personal finance books, blogs, YouTube channels, et cetera. So financial advisors are no longer the gatekeepers of investment knowledge. And I think you hit the nail right on the head, I talk a lot about that. And it's true; they can't play on that playground to borrow your terms. He just can't do it anymore. [38:59.6]
Matt: Nope, Nope. And we have to keep in mind too, to your point as an advisor, there is not a single thing you know that Google doesn't also know. There's just not. All information in the entire known universe is inside of Google. What Google does not yet know how to do is to apply that super personally, right? So if I Google, should I do a Roth conversion? Google was going to list every single thing that exists about Roth conversions. What it will not yet do is say, Hey, you should probably do $23,400 this year and 48,000 next year because your RMD in 10 years is going to be X, right? So your advice has to be things that Google doesn't have. And to James, to your point, it has to be things that aren't getting spit out a financial planning software. Consumers are now realizing, Hey, I don't need to pay an advisor $5,000 for the plan. I can pay $249 and buy the software myself. [39:46.5]
Matt: And make my own 70 page financial plan, that's that's equally useless. So it would, the only advice that counts is advice that's super personalized back to our niche, focus and advice that saves them time. If I give them a 70 page analysis on the Roth conversion, that's not personal, it doesn't save them time. If I say, Hey, we looked at your tax plan for the next couple of years and you need to do a $23,000 Roth conversion this year. That's valuable that’s specific.
James: And that's actually why my wife bought up the fees that was paying with a financial advisor is because, her original question was, Hey, can I still do, can I still contribute to a Roth?
Matt: Great question.
James: Because we recently got married and she makes too much an hour. Married, filing jointly that no, you cannot contribute to a Roth, but her financial advisor doesn't know, has never asked, has never done anything to, to ask to figure it out. And I can't remember if she tried to contribute or not. And he just never didn't cross his mind. And like, no, you can't contribute to a Roth anymore, unfortunately, but that's kind of like important to ask if you're on a you're meeting with someone even just pay attention to the little details, like pay attention to the wedding ring or something. And then, Oh, did you get married?
Matt: Yeah. [40:58.6]
James: I didn't know. Her parents are also clients of this very same advisor. And I promise you, at some point they said, she's getting married or doing this, he’d never ask.
Matt: Just missed the whole thing.
Matt: Yeah. Tax planning is a huge value at IQ. I talked about it on the podcast the other day I had a prospect come in and they said, Matthew, I know you personally in the community, that's why I'm here. But I'm also looking at XYZ firm, one of the biggest RIA firms in the industry. I won't say the name today cause I don't want him to come after me. And I said, Wow, you know what good for you, you really should be shopping multiple advisors. So step number one, I didn’t back away from it. Like, no, that's great. I highly recommend that. Just curious. What did they say when they looked at your tax return? Matthew, they didn't ask to see my tax return. Really? No, by the way I knew this because I do my research. Oh really? So like when you start distributions next year, how are they going to know how much you should hold back in taxes? Matthew, I don't know. They didn't talk about that at all. Okay. Well that's something that's really important to us. So we're going to need to see your tax return to make sure that you're not overpaying the IRS. [41:59.2]
And then right there I won because right there, I'm delivering massive value. I'm saying, Hey, I want to make sure you don't overpay the IRS. By the way, nobody wants to overpay the IRS. And it was something I could distinguish from this other firm. If I had instead printed out the same financial plan that they use or pulled out some Morningstar report to the prospect, I look identical to them and their size and their prestige is going to win. And instead I won, and the prospect is now my client.
James: Because you kept it personal.
James: And that's even something that good marketing can't solve that. There are some things that marketing can't do. And that's one of them is when you have a client that is expressing a certain need and has gone to someone else, there is no, there's no direct mail piece, there's no LinkedIn connection request. There's no email that will tune in as much as a real person talking to you over zoom over the phone in person and just adapt to the situation. [42:52.3]
Matt: Yeah, yeah.
Matt: And know where, know where your advantage is. And, and again, whether it's your, you've got a tight niche and so you understand dentists better than anybody else. It's something that I use when I'm up against other advisors. I recommend this to advisors as well. If you have a niche highlight that that's your only niche and that every other firm also works. So let's just pick dentists. For example, everybody has targeted dentists because they have money. And so if you're up against big firm, whatever, say, Hey do they specialize in dentists or do they also work in dentist with dentists? And the dentist will say, well, what do you mean? And I say, I gotta be real honest with you every financial advisor in the world wants to work with dentists cause you guys have money. That's why you get a million ads every single day. Oh yeah, you're right. But none of them actually specialize in dentists. All I do is work with dentists. I'm picking dentists as an example. It could be any demographic. [43:42.2]
My buddy, Micah and I do the podcast with right, he, he specializes in federal employees, that's his whole niche is he just works with federal employees and he knows every single thing about their systems. So while every other RIA and affirm in the country would be glad to take somebody with a million dollar TSP when they Google, how do I retire from the federal government Micah’s sites right there. And they look at this stuff and like, wow; this guy really knows his stuff. It's not generic 401k advice for a TSP plan. [44:06.6]
James: Yeah. And that, I think I must've Googled something like that and I found him, so that speaks volumes too. It's one of those things where value isn't linear. And a lot of clients have, a lot of people who hire financial advisors have this image in their head where the value that the advisor is going to deliver is going to be linear. So you charge every quarters you're going to.
James: That in their mind like every quarter I'm going to get X value, X value, X value with someone who has such a deep body of knowledge, who knows stuff that other financial advisors, the generalist financial advisors don't know. I imagine that the value comes when he finds something that nobody else knows about, that he catches that nobody else caught. And it just saves them a ton of money. It makes them a ton of money, saves headaches. I think that is why you specialize and I'm sure Micah could, if he was here attest to that. [44:58.5]
Matt: Yeah. Oh for sure. It's, it's being aware, it's it's really making the client or prospect aware of problems they didn't know that they had. So again, using Micah as an example, and I'm going to end up having to buy him beers for talking about him this much on a show, but you know, he'll say, Hey, when you go to retire from the federal government, you'll need to make sure to ask OPM the office of personal management, these four questions. And they'll say, I've never heard about asking those four questions. And Micah says, yeah, because we've had a lot of clients retire out of this. People just like you keep verbiage there and they've run into these issues. And we want to make sure you don't run into the issue. Now again, they might look and say, if they were super objective, they might say, Micah, we paid you $15,000 this year in fees. And that really only saved us $200, but no one does the math like that. What they see is Micah is on our team and Micah is telling us things that no one else is telling us. He's saving us headaches that no one else is saving us. And that's the price of admission. [45:48.0]
James: I could not have said it better.
James: I think I'm going to wrap this up here. It seems like we've been on for a little while here about the length of a good podcast episode, if I decide to put it on there, which I undoubtedly will. Is there anything that you want to add or how can people get in touch with you? You know the typical end of podcast question.
Matt: Oh sure, sure. Yeah. I mean, you can go to theperfectria.com. That's where, that's where Micah and I set up our podcast platforms and just Google it you'll find us all over the place, but I guess I would, I would just sort of depart with whatever you're doing in your practice. You need to be super intentional, right? When you're working with James on marketing, you need to be super intentional. What am I trying to accomplish when you're making your schedule, your surge meetings, you're delivering massive value. Just really ask yourself, why am I doing it this way? And if you're not sure, then find somebody who's doing, that has the results that you want and mirror what they're doing. That's what I did a lot of my career. I just said, well, who's really doing it not who claims they're doing it. Who's really doing it and how can I copy? I copy that kind of work because I don't want it You know, we talked about earlier about, you know, ripping off people's stuff, but how do I
James: You want to build on it. [46:49.5]
Matt: Follow their path to success? How do I build on it?
James: You never want to reinvent the wheel. That's not what I'm saying
James: When I sit and bash the copycat advisers, it's not like they're trying something completely new. They are innovating on something that's already there. But if you just copy, copy, copy, copy, and don't change anything, no breakthroughs happen.
James: But when you, when you build on what's already there, you don't reinvent the wheel, it will kind of be like, I don't, I can't really think of any examples, I guess like me going back and just making cold calls. It’s like you want to know we've got social media now. I, if I just copy that, no, I take the calls and then I innovate and I'm like, how can I make these calls more effective? That's kind of.
James: What you want to do, but that's amazing advice. And I think it's important for financial advisors to know that stuff like this it's just, it's simple. It's not complex if you want to be intentional with your business. And I hope you enjoyed watching this or listening to it depending on how you get it. And I'm sure we'll catch you some other time. Make sure you listen to The Perfect RIA and Financial Adviser Marketing and catch you next time. [47:50.7]
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