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If you want to improve your marketing, attract more leads and close more clients, there’s tons of “experts” willing to teach you in their books, courses, webinars and coaching programs. Some are great, others are helpful, but many are just plain ripoffs. 

If you’re not a marketing expert, it’s probably hard to decide who you can trust. They all have the same smiling testimonials, years of experience and happy customers.

In this episode, you’ll find out how to spot the ripoffs and find true experts who’ll take your business to the next level. Want to learn from the best so you can get more leads, prospects and clients? Listen now!

Show highlights include: 

  • Why 58% of the most successful financial advisors use email marketing to attract leads. (6:27)
  • The disappointing data that makes SEO for financial advisors nearly useless. (8:14)
  • Why buying leads can kill your business (even if you’re closing clients through it). (9:38)
  • How funnel building software cuts off your lead supply (unless you quit after it starts working). (14:50)
  • The “5 Second Rule” that repels 48% of potential leads on your website. (17:08)
  • Why certifications are a ripoff that only gets you kudos from other advisors (without actually getting you more clients). (19:56)

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.

Discover how to get even better at marketing yourself with these resources:




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 TheAdvisorCoach.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, welcome to another episode of Financial Advisor Marketing. If you haven't subscribed and or left a review yet, make sure you do that. I don't do a very good job of asking for reviews, I really should be asking more often. Based on the number of people who listen to this show, now that I'm actually looking at my stats producer, Jonathan, it seems like I should have 10 times to reviews and I've been able to see behind the scenes of a few other shows. I noticed that they get fewer listens than I do, but they have far more reviews and it's just because they ask for them consistently. Sometimes they'll do giveaways, they'll give people like a book or something for leaving a review. They'll send them a screenshot. I know I've talked about that in the past. It's something that I'm toying around with, but speaking of free books, if you haven't subscribed to my email list, make sure you do so over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/57 that's the number five and the number seven, not the words. TheAdvisorCoach.com/57 [01:28.7]

You will get an 80 page or actually more than 80 pages, but it's a PDF titled 57 marketing tips for financial advisors. And I refreshed it about a year ago. I've gotten amazing feedback ever since it's a lot more strategic than tactical. It used to be filled with tactics, like do this, not that, change this thing here, leave this thing the same, but now it's more strategic, it's much more high level. So, if you're looking for something like exactly what you should say when calling some water, a referral script or whatever, you're going to be disappointed. But if you want to strengthen your business building foundation, you can't get much better than that. Again, that's TheAdvisorCoach.com/57. Make sure you join my email list because my life isn't complete without you subscribed. And my life isn't complete without my co-host who is officially back this week, producer Jonathan Rivera from ThePodcastFactory.com. It's been a while, like a month. [02:23.5]

Jonathan: I'm, I just I'm so happy. I really missed you, James. I really, really missed you. Thank you for allowing me back in your presence.

James: I've done a lot of interviews. I had the one with Jill Addison. I had the one with Taylor Schulte, both of those were really cool. I've got Derek Notman from the virtual financial advisor. These people are just crushing it. I mean, there's no other way to say it just, they're just amazing in what they do. And, but it is good to have you back on the show. And I'm very impressed with like your growth, not just as a human being, but like your business, like over the past year or two, it's changed your, it seems like yours, maybe it hasn't, maybe your, you know, behind the scenes, but it just from an outsider's point of view, it looks like your systems they've gotten so much better. Like you're just the way you do things is so much more fluid as a business. [03:12.5]

Jonathan: Yeah. You know what it's, it's one of those things and I think this'll be helpful to the listeners. It's who was it, Jim Rowan, ‘You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with.’

James: Yes.

Jonathan: And I've spent a whole hell of a lot of time with you, James. So, it's got to rub off on me.

James: Well, I appreciate that. Is it, that's one of the frustrations that I've had is I'm a member of a lot of different, well, not a lot of different groups like Facebook groups or whatever, but I'm a member of a lot of like different subscriptions. And I have people who run in the same circles. I keep running into, ran into them again and again and again. And I want to meet more people who are operating at the level at which I'm operating. I know that sounds kind of arrogant, but like, I just want to find these people and it's so freaking hard. And I know financial advisors have the same frustration, cause I've, I've heard stories of financial advisors who are in groups like fat fire, the financial advisor or financial independence retire early groups, fat fires, essentially when you're retiring with 5 million plus 10 million plus not necessarily $600,000 or $1 million, like your fat fire means you're spending more on retirement. And a lot of these people, even in those groups, I mean, I've got some inner circle members who are just making serious money and they're like Ahhhhhh…. that’s not good enough anymore. And I'm like, Holy crap, are you serious? Like, that's awesome! But it's so hard to find people who are like really truly actually kicking for lack of a better term. [04:41.9]

Jonathan: I'm with you, bro.

James: Hopefully we can find something. And today on the show financial advisors, we're going to talk about three of the biggest rip-offs in financial advisor marketing. I know that's a strong title, it probably has people on the edge of their seats already. Maybe I should be gentler with my titles. I don't know. But I truly believe that these three things are rip-offs and I will give you evidence as to why that is. And by the way, my dear listener, make sure you get evidence for the information people give you. I mean, call them out on their BS. I'm so sick of seeing all these gurus and these fake experts like just talking about their theories and their opinions with no evidence, even former financial advisors do this crap. They talk about things that worked for them in their specific situation with no evidence whatsoever about whether or not it's duplicatable or even the best strategy to begin with. [05:33.9]

For example, experts could say that the best way to cut your lawn is with a pair of scissors. And then they'll proceed to show you how they use scissors and they got their lawn cut. Are they wrong? Well, technically, no, they're not wrong because you can cut your lawn with scissors, but you should do your research to see if there's a better way to cut your lawn. Think independently. When I talk about marketing, I bring the facts. I just recently at a time of this recording, I recently published an article about what Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors do differently on their websites than anybody else. I went through the entire list. I clicked through one by one and I made notes of what they did. If they did email marketing. If they had a clear navigation bar, if they had the clear contact information, if they had links to social profiles, I literally looked at every single one and I made a note of if they did those things and I calculated the percentages and I gave financial advisors, the percentage 58% of Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors, leverage email marketing on their websites. [06:33.5]

And it's honestly that number is probably even higher because I excluded Ameriprise financial advisors and I only looked at the homepages. So that in reality, that number is probably higher, but just on the surface level, only looking at the homepage to save time, 58%, I'm bringing you the actual data. I'm giving you actual evidence. You can verify literally everything I'm telling you because you can go to the same Barron's 100 top independent financial advisors list, and you can look at it yourself. I'm not just saying, Oh, change your call-to-action button and everything's going to be great. I say, no, you're going to change it from an icon of a phone to your picture and based on a test that was run in this year, at this time, it increased the conversion rate 29% or something like that. I'm giving you the actual evidence. Does that make sense? Am I wrong for going this hard producer Jonathan? [07:21.3]

Jonathan: I love it, man. It's so rare that anybody actually goes and gets data. And, and my buddy Nate likes to say all the time, ‘data, not drama.’ So, you're out there getting the data for them.

James: It's just so important. Even recently I heard someone talk about how all financial advisors should focus on SEO in the beginning of their careers and in the, I don't want to bring any bias here. So, it could be good. It could be good advice, it could be bad advice, but just get the evidence. Get an SEO tool, if you must. Don't just blindly take this information and be like, Oh yeah, this guy said SEO is cool. I'm going to do it. Get a tool, get a keyword research tool. If you did something like that, and you had access to a keyword research tool, you would realize that the searches for financial advisors across America, it's just, they're so little. They're abysmal. For example, this is real data too. There are currently 590 searches per month at the time of this recording for financial advisor New York, yet there are. [08:22.4]

Jonathan: Hmm.

James: Thousands and thousands of firms and thousands of financial advisors in New York. So do the math on that one. If you're a financial advisor, you're probably a numbers person. You could probably put two and two together and realize that if the actual data says that only 590 people per month are searching financial advisor in New York and you're competing with 19,000 other people, probably not going to be a good idea. So, if I can get just one person to be saved from this nonsense, I've done my job and it's not just SEO. I mean, SEO can be an amazing strategy, I recommend it in certain, in certain it's it's wonderful. But make sure you get the data first and call people out on their crap. I really want to see more bikers like when these marketers and lead gen people or whatever approach you like, just call them out. I want you to do it. Tell them to link a source, tell them to provide video. I have an online ad saying that I recently shared why… literally pull up my screen. I refresh the page, cause people can take screenshots. I refreshed everything I'd like to give you my actual ads accounts. I provide proof. [09:21.9]

When someone approaches you and they say, Oh, I can get you X amount of results for Y amount of money or effort or whatever. Okay. Link to a resource, show me, provide a video, do something. Like I'm going to stop ranting now and we'll get onto the shelf. So, the first biggest rip-off I want to talk about is actually Lead Generation Companies. And we did an entire episode on this. If you want to go back and listen to it, the title is 4 Reasons Why Buying Leads Is Like Burning Money, and I have an article to the same effect. So, if you want to Google the adviser coach buying leads, burning money, it should show up. [10:00.0]

I mean, that's a pretty specific search and I broke down exactly why financial advisors should never, ever, ever depend on leads. If your leads are, if you're buying leads and you're profitable, that's cool, but more power to you. But the vast majority of financial advisors cannot make it work. And if they, even, if they can make it work, they should never, ever, ever be dependent on them. And the lead generation companies, the relationship with them, if you're a financial advisor, it typically starts off. Okay. Or at least it can, but it will eventually sour because they must either lower the lead quality or increase prices as a result of increased demand. So, if they find some magical lead source, they will be like, Hey, I've got this magical lead source, you want it? And a financial advisor would say, yeah, and another financial advisor say yeah. And another one say, yeah, and it will increase the demand. And because of increased demand, they got to raise their prices. This is econ one Oh one. It must happen. It's basic supply and demand. And I'm surprised more people don't understand it going in. I, I think a lot of people are addicted to the notion of easy stuff. They want people to hand them the leads so they don't have to do anything. It's like a child being fed food. Do you want mommy to make airplane noises when she'd given her giving you your noms? Because [11:15.9]

Jonathan: Nom Nom.

James: That's what it's like when financial advisors buy leads, mommy and daddy spoon feeding you, the people do so you could be a big boy with a big business and anyone with a shred of common sense, realizes that this is a pipe dream. Let me tell you, you don't have to get anything I offer. You don't have to become an inner circle member. You don't have to take advantage of the offers that I make, that quite frankly have money back guarantees. I'm like, I'm literally there and I answered your questions and like, I have an amazing track record quite frankly. But listen to this, cause this is a free podcast, like you can go your separate way, your, merry way or whatever. You are a much, much, much better off building your business the hard way. And by the hard way, I mean, in the short term, because getting leads is easy in the short term, but hard in the long term, extremely difficult. Building your business, the right way is hard in the short term and extremely easy in the long term. Because what if instead of shelling out big bucks for leads, you begin building your own website and building your online presence and started well, I don't know, getting your own leads, getting people to actually reach out to you. People who are perhaps in your niche and interested in you, instead of some survey, they filled out on a third-party website. [12:34.6]

Isn't that a novel concept, because if you can build those up, you can have a pretty mighty business. So that is the first biggest rip-off that I see in the financial advisor marketing space, then hopefully a financial advisor avoid the lead gen companies. I know that you're not really in a financial services space, pretty hardcore like that Jonathan. Although I guess, I guess you kind of are because you have a couple of financial advisor clients in The Podcast Factory. [12:59.4]

Jonathan: Yeah, we have a few, but I don't see any of our people buying leads. They are more building building platforms.

James: They are building their podcast, their content, their blogs, their YouTube channels. They're building assets that they will not necessarily own and control. Cause YouTube could take them down at any minute, but they have the videos, right? I mean they can repurpose it. They can put it on their site. They can go through email. They are generating conversations and appointments and people who are interested on their own. And that's a good segue into the second biggest financial advisor marketing rip-off. And this one, some people are going to take this the wrong way, but I'm gonna try to explain it the best way that I can. It's actually funnel builders such as ClickFunnels. [13:45.1]

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. [14:07.8]

James: If you stay on them. Now I want to make it clear funnel builders in this fancy software and whatnot, the funnel builders are not a rip off unless you use them for forever. Because if used correctly, they could be great time savers, they could be great testing tools. So, if you have an idea and you want to test that idea and you don't want to build an entire web page or pay someone to help you with that, these funnel builders, they're easy enough to use that even the most technologically illiterate person can probably slap something together in about 20 minutes. So, in that sense, funnel builders can be a great tool. They are, they're a great tool to have in your toolbox. The problem occurs when people use them successfully, they get something and it works. They put the landing page together and the landing page starts converting. That's awesome. [15:00.0]

But then they never replicate the page or whatever they're using on their own website domain. Let me explain, let's say you're a financial advisor and you want to build an email list. You hear about this funnel builder that allows you to make a landing page super-fast and start collecting email addresses. That's awesome. So, you make a page and by job it works. What you should do as soon as you know it works, is recreate it on your website and here's why. Your conversions are going to be much higher on your own website and the traffic is better specifically with email marketing. I mean, people are confused. When they click a button on your site and they get redirected somewhere else. When they see ABCwealthmanagement.com and they click on a button and it takes them to clickfunnels.ABCwealthmanagement, or ABCwealth management.clickfunnels.com, they get confused. [15:55.5]

I don't want to get too technical, but they operate on a completely different domain or a sub domain. So, it's just confuses people. And when people see that you are all changed, they get a little hesitant. And I should know because I can't build my own checkout pages on my website and it sucks. So, I use Stripe cart, which has this sub domain. And I can tell you right now from my actual experience on my actual site, that I'm actually using, not just theory. It impacts how many people complete their checkout. It impacts how many people purchased from me. Now thankfully, it's not that big of a deal to me and it works well enough. So, I let it go. But when it comes to your first interaction with people, such as when you're building your email list, make sure it's done on your own site. The reason that it doesn't impact me as much because it's a checkout page. And by the time people get to a checkout page, they already know, know me. They already liked me. They already trust me. They're already ready to do business with so that hesitation isn't as severe. But when you're trying generate leads and set appointments and have conversations with people and you send them to a funnel builder type page or a sub domain that the hesitation is still extremely high, the skepticism is still extremely high. [17:02.2]

So, it only takes a little itty bitty thing thing to get them to stop. And another reason you want to do this is because a lot of times having your own standalone page, this is not always the case, but a lot of times it is the case. It’ll cause your site to load faster and accordingly to Unbounce pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%. That means if a hundred people click on your button and your page takes two seconds to load. Only 91, people will stay there. However, if your page takes five seconds to load, only 62 will stay there. That's right. The average bounce rate for pages take five seconds to load is a whopping 38%. And one tip alone can put for real money in your pocket. Seriously, make sure you're doing this stuff. You're putting your content on your actual website. That's honestly, quite frankly, with The Podcast Factory, that's one of the things that impressed me was that you had the client showcase and you have a lot of different content and blog articles, like actually on your website actually on your domain. So, I really appreciated that like as a consumer of The Podcast Factory. [18:15.2]

Jonathan: Yeah, yeah. That was after we stopped using ClickFunnels.

James: Well, do you understand what I'm saying though?

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: That it's okay

Jonathan: Run a test.

James: To test ideas?

Jonathan: Right, run it. I mean, we're doing that right now. We're, we're doing some work for the school and we're gonna put up pages on ClickFunnels and run ads. But once we know that thing's converting, we're moving that to their site. [18:35.7]

James: Yeah. Because just like I said, if you have whatever your website is. ClickFunnels and you run an ad to that, and then you run an add to its just your website.com, people are going to notice that and they're going to see it. And another thing I, again, I don't want to get too specific because I know that this doesn't apply to every single financial advisor, but please take the concept behind here and apply it to your business. When you run something like a Facebook ad and people see the URL, they, they let you choose what you want your display URL to be. For example, if, if I'm sending traffic to a page, that's theAdvisorCoach.com/ads-123-abc-, whatever. I can change my display URLs to theAdvisorCoach.com/ads. So, when people see my ad and they see the display URL or the URL that they see, I should say to be extra clear is theAdvisorCoach.com/ads. But when they click on that ad and they're taken to theAdvisorCoach.com/ads--abc-123, whatever they bounce like or a larger percentage of people bounce because they're like, wait a minute. This is not what I clicked on, what's going on? And you just want to avoid that. [19:50.9]

So, I'm going to move on to the third biggest rip-off, which is probably the most controversial and that's Endless Certifications. And I'm going to catch a lot of heat for this one I know; financial advisors get really touchy about their certifications and it's a confirmation bias. I mean, that's what it is. They spend a lot of time getting these certifications and whatnot. So, they look for evidence to support that it was a good decision. They also immediately reject any evidence to support otherwise. Oh, and speaking of evidence here it is. One of the many studies done on this topic is called trust and financial advice, which was published by Vanguard research. You can Google it if you don't believe me, just Google trust and financial advice, Vanguard research, and it will pop up on the first page. [20:36.5]

They found this from actual clients. Clients don't care if you're connected in the community, they don't care if you show of trends in the financial markets. And that's another reason why stock market commentary emails don't work. And they don't care if you have relevant industry qualifications, this is not for me. This is not James Pollard saying this. This is Vanguard. One of the biggest financial institutions in the entire world running one of the biggest studies that they can run about trust and financial advice. So, you take it up with Vanguard. If you're off to take it up with Vanguard, not with me, I'm just passing it down. I'm giving you, like I said, at the beginning of the show, the actual data. So, they found that being an advocate for your clients was the single biggest driver of trust. Being an advocate is literally 5.6 times bigger trust driver than qualifications. 8.5 times bigger than showing awareness of financial trends and seventeen times bigger than being well-connected in the community. [21:41.9]

Financial advisors they delude themselves into thinking that, Oh, well, I've got a lot of connections. I've got these people that can get you in touch with, I've got a guy. I was like, Oh, I know where the market's going. Apple is really high right now and the PE ratio is this and historically it's 15 blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It doesn't matter as much as you think it does. I am a business person. I look for inputs versus outputs and that's how I make decisions. As a business person I have to, I, I quite, quite frankly, my emotions don't matter. My opinions don't matter. And how I feel doesn't matter. The numbers matter. And when I'm looking at inputs versus outputs, I see that certifications have a big input for not much output. I would much rather spend my time being an advocate for the people I serve, AKA my niche, because that's going to get me a heck of a lot more results clients and yes, money in the bank when compared to going for another certification. [22:41.0]

And of course, you want to make sure you know what you're doing, and yes, knowledge is valuable in and of itself, but don't lie to yourself and tell yourself that getting another certification is what you should do to get more clients because it's not. Your time is much better spent being an advocate relating to prospective clients and giving them a sense of relief about their situation, because that is what they want. Again, this is 100% verifiable. I'm giving you the real actual data that you can see for yourself. Other people like to give you these theories and like, Oh my God, great ideas, but I don't want to yank your chain like that. It's trust and financial advice by Vanguard, if you want to look it up. So, to recap, we're going to wrap up the show. The biggest rip offs in all of financial advisor marketing are lead generation companies, funnel builders, if you stick with them forever and certification chasing. [23:34.1]

Jonathan: I feel like that's a.com there certification chasing. What do you have coming up for us next time James?

James: Next time we are, we're going to switch gears a little bit and I'm going to talk about, ‘The most effective way financial advisors can get referrals.’

Jonathan: Interesting. Interesting. I love referrals. All right, that is a wrap for another financial advisor marketing. Thank you for tuning in, and we will be back in your earbuds next time. [23:59.8]

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