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Keeping clients happy is hard. They want you to deliver great returns, be available at short notice and know about every change in the markets. 

But if you do whatever your client tells you to do, you’ll get the blame when their own decisions tank their portfolio. Because what clients say they want and what they actually want are two different things. 

In this episode, you’ll find out exactly what clients really want—and how to use that insight to get and keep more clients. 

Tired of clients leaving? Listen now!

Show highlights include: 

  • Why clients hate advisors who coach or mentor them (and the “boring” positioning that gets clients to line up to work with you). (8:48)
  • How to keep your clients forever by making them money (even if they’re still getting robbed in taxes). (12:41)
  • The Vanguard study that you can quote to turn skeptical prospects into loyal clients (even if they don’t trust you yet). (16:00)
  • The “storytelling secret” that makes clients trust you before you ever talk with them. (17:31)

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 https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/Coaching 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 Advisor Marketing, the best show on the planet for financial advisers who want to get more clients without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal. James is the founder of 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: Financial Advisors, or should I say financial advisor marketers, I hope you're doing well. I want to say thank you to everyone who is listening. I appreciate you more than you'll ever know. I mean, doing this show has been a really cool journey. I don't want to sound like I'm ending the show. Again, I'm not ending a show at all, we're still good. We're still going to record. But before this podcast, I had a show called The Advisor Coach Podcast, if you didn't know that, you know, now. It did okay, but I did it sporadically. Sometimes I would record an episode every week and then other times I would go a month or so without releasing anything, it just wasn't consistent. And one of the keys to success with a podcast specifically is to do it consistently. That's why I'm glad I've been able to serve you financial advisors, financial advisor marketers every single Monday for years at this point. Isn't that right, Jonathan? [01:23.7]

Jonathan: Incredible man. Here is it, I don't even believe it, when you say it it's gone so quickly.

James: The time passes anyway. I had a, an annual meeting with my insurance guy yesterday and I remember thinking when I started that particular policy, I was like, wow. You know, I was looking to get an illustration. I'm like, oh two years, three years, five years, 10 years. That's a long way away. But here we are, and one year later, and it's just gone by, I mean, I'm using the money, I bought a car with it. I want to do the solar panel thing. I have some other investments that I want to make. It's just the time passes anyway. So, you have to understand that for yourself. You have to understand that for your clients. You have to understand that for your prospective clients. And I want to say a shout out to all my recent involvements. I've been actually pretty darn busy lately. This episode is going to come out later in the future. But at the time of this recording, I've been doing stuff with a gentleman called Josh Knoll at Golf Coast Advisors. So, I know he's probably listening to this. I want to say thank you again for having me on your show. I've done stuff with Liberty in South Africa, that was a pretty cool thing. I don't know if you saw that, Jonathan. I posted something on social media with the Liberty Advisors. [02:31.4]

Jonathan: Yeah, yeah, actually I did.

James: So that was really fun. I mean, I've never done anything with South African advisors. I've never been to Africa; I'd like to go. I mean, it's one of those bucket list items. You got to go to Africa and go to every continent in the world. That's kind of what I want to do, but man, they know how to put a show on down there. They were so nice. I was impressed. Like they had their stuff together. Typically, when I do, I don't want to sound like a negative Nancy or anything here, but typically when I'm doing engagements, like they're scrambling and they're oh, oh, we need your headshot. We forgot and just emailing back and forth. And I get on an email thread and they hit reply all to every freaking email. And I'm just inundated with all these messages. No, they didn't do that. I was so impressed. They treated me with respect. They, like I said, they just had their stuff together. They, the emails were tight. They asked for everything upfront. They didn't take too much of my time. And best of all, I donated my entire speaking fee to charity. [03:30.3]

Jonathan: Nice.

James: So, I mean, it's a win-win. I mean, well, I should say win-win-win because it's a win for Liberty it’s a win for me and it's a win for the charities to benefit. And I can't remember the exact name, but it was a charity specific to South Africa. We did not do First Book, but it was a charity in South Africa that provides meals to the kids who were impacted by the pandemic. Because a lot of these kids that sometimes their only meal is at school. And if they're not going to school or they're not getting that meal. So, there's the charity that the money went towards was charity that essentially got these kids food. So that was really nice.

Jonathan: Excellent. [04:06.7]

James: Then the other thing I have been busy with is The Results Leader Podcast. I should be either coming out soon, by the time you listen to this podcast, financial advisors, or maybe it's already out. So, if you go wherever you listen to podcasts and you search James Pollard results leader or Results Leader, the advisor coach, something like that, it should pop up. And that is producer Jonathan's show. He's got a lot of shows, but I think that's, that's my favorite, - When I like Daddy's working, but I like Results Leader even more.

Jonathan: There's a reason because you were on that show, that's why you like it.

James: It's just, you've got people who know their stuff. You've got people who are actually producing results and I don't want to go off too much on a tangent, but that, it's just, it is what it is. You have people who are coming on there. They are producing, they're learning actual businesses that are actually helping people. And speaking to people who are helping people, I also want to give a special shout out to my inner circle members. You guys are awesome. I don't want to toot my own horn too much, but I've been putting out some fire lately in that newsletter. I've also been writing that for years. [05:08.3]

So, if you've been an inner circle member for years, you can quite literally go back over dozens of issues and revisit them and put together an incredible marketing approach that most people they simply cannot do. And I want to say thank you because when someone subscribes to the newsletter, I take that first month’s payment and I give that to charity as well. I give that to first book that helps children get access to the educational resources they need. A lot of these people want to get through your, get your money so they can flex on the gram. They can rock Rolex's, you know, like win Lambo, but I'm giving the money to charity. So, I don't give all the money to charity. I don't want to give people the wrong impression. I do keep the money. Some of the money that comes through. I don't want to be like a holier than thou like Mother Teresa or anything. I do like getting money, but the very first payment goes to First Book. And yesterday I was fortunate enough to donate $594 to First Book because six people subscribed and 6 x 99 equals 594. So, I give that to them. I believe that nothing is more important than the information you feed your mind. And if I'm giving financial advisors, world-class marketing advice, campaigns and strategies, sometimes word for word scripts and screenshots of what to do. I want to make sure I give the kids what they need to succeed as well. So, make me donate more, force me to give more money to charity, go over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching and subscribe to the newsletter. You get more than at this point is $2,000 worth of bonuses when you signed up, it's not even a thousand, like the mid was going to say it's more than 2000 at this point. At this point, I am bending over backwards to get you to join. Now onto the show. [06:40.5]

Today, we're talking about, what investors want from financial advisors ranked in order of importance. This comes from, this is not James Pollard telling you this. This is not me, just spouting information out of my book. This is dimensional fund advisors, global investor insights study based surveyed 19,000 investors from eight countries. And they found some interesting results. When investors were asked to and I quote “choose the attribute you consider most important in your advisor relationship.” The top responses were investment returns and client service experience. That's what investors say is important. Now remember what people say and what they do are two different things. We're going to see that when we talk about what they actually value and you'll see that is quite different. And this study also had a really cool list of what investors value versus what financial advisors think investors value. And I want to dive deep into this because it shows that prospective clients and financial advisors aren't necessarily on the same page. [07:55.3]

So, the number one thing, investors value, according to investors themselves is a financial advisor who helps them reach their financial goals. This is what they value. This is not the attribute necessarily, but when they're asked, Hey, what do you value most in a financial advisor? That's what it is. But the number one thing, financial advisors, sink investors value is understanding them and their unique needs. So that's pretty close. And to be fair, number two is the same thing. It's helping them reach their financial goals. So, so far so good. They're pretty close on that. So, investors say, we want financial advisors who help us reach your financial goals. And the number two thing that financial advisors think investors want is reaching those financial goals. So again, so far so good, but they were far apart on a few things. [08:48.4]

For example, financial advisors think clients want a coach or mentor, but they don't. That was right around the middle of the list that financial advisors think investors value, but it was near the bottom of the list of things investors actually value. So, there's a lot of financial advisors out there who are trying to position themselves as coaches or mentors, to people who have money, have investible assets are trying to work their way up the wealth ladder. But the study shows based on serving 19,000 investors from eight countries that this really isn't the right thing to do. So, the takeaway here is that if you're trying to position yourself as a coach or a mentor, make sure it's something your clients want. And I've seen some clients get confused because the advisor thinks he or she is doing a good thing by helping them like this, but they're getting mixed messages. [09:42.5]

For example, the financial advisors will make it clear that they want someone who likes to delegate stuff. They'll put that on the website. They'll put that on the marketing materials. So, say, are you someone who wants to delegate your financial matters? Do you just not want to deal with it anymore? Or do you not have the time? They want delegators. The idea is that the client will delegate the financial stuff to the financial advisor and the advisor would do his or her thing. But when the advisor tries to take on this coach or mentor role, the client doesn't understand, they think like, why are you coaching me? I just want to delegate this stuff and get it over with don't, this is not what you want? You want me to delegate this stuff to you? You want me to be an outsourcer? You want me to be a delegator? Why are you trying to coach and mentor me? I know this is going to go over a lot of financial advisor’s heads. A lot of them are probably upset with this, but don't be upset with me. Be upset with the 19,000 financial advisors. Now, let me ask you Jonathan, when you are with a financial advisor and you don't have to steer in any particular direction, just because the data says so, but just you personally, are you more of a delegator or an outsourcer, or do you want someone to take you by the hand and coach you and mentor you along the way? [10:54.8]

Jonathan: I was going to ask you that James, because I don't understand how a financial advisor is a coach or mentor. What does that look like exactly? They're telling me what to do. Is that what that means?

James: Oh yes. They they're giving recommendations. They're providing different insights. They're saying you should really do this. They should, pushing you to save more. That sort of thing. You're making sure that you're automating your savings, you're automating your investments, that you follow up with them that you check in with major purchases. If they're doing true financial planning, that is, but still, that doesn't make sense because a lot of the financial advisors are putting in their materials that they want delegators and they want outsourcers, but they don't act like it.

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: So that's just a confusing thing.

Jonathan: I want, I want to just, I want to trust them to do the work. I don't want to be told to do the work. Here's what you should do. I don't care about that. I'm paying you, you do it.

James: And that's what it is with a lot of things. I'm hiring somebody to put in a tankless water heater. I want the person to come in. I want to be in the other room, working on my business, doing higher value tasks. And I want the person to install the water heater. I don't want them to say, Hey, if you ever install one of these water heaters, this is what you have to do. Make sure this is connected to this. I don't need any of that. Just do the work like you said, it's just, people don't think like that, I guess. But moving on. [12:15.8]

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. [12:38.4]

James: Another interesting finding was that investors did put and I quote “can help me maximize my returns.” So that's the thing that they wanted, they can help me maximize my returns near the top of the chart, but advisors put it near the bottom of the chart.

Jonathan: What.

James: And I know this is going to mess with a lot of financial advisor’s heads, but the facts are investors do value, getting high returns. It's not the most important thing, but it's up there. And the shocking thing is that financial advisors put it second to last on the list of things that they think investors value. This means financial advisors have sold themselves the idea that their clients want something other than returns, and this can be the case. Your client can want wealth preservation, tax savings and overall financial strategy, et cetera. But according to the data, getting those returns is a lot more important than most advisors think. [13:36.0]

Again, I am not saying that it's the most important thing. I am not saying that as a financial advisor, you need to go out there and you need to say that you're helping people get better returns or whatever that is wrong to do, especially because you cannot control the market. You can only put people in appropriate vehicles and you can only tailor investment strategies to people's needs. I get that, but do not fool yourself into thinking that those returns are not important, or at least don't fool yourself into thinking that your potential clients, your prospective clients, aren't thinking that when they come in to meet with you. You could even bring this up and you could say, Hey, how important are returns to you? I want to make sure that you understand that I'm not trying to beat the market. I am not benchmarking myself against the S & P 500. I am benchmarking myself against your goals. If you're 10 years away from retirement, we're going to focus on that. And we're going to make sure we get you there. We get you to your destination. But I am not going to benchmark myself against some arbitrary metric like returns. And that's just the bottom line, that's what it is. So don't, but don't delude yourself. Cause this is, this is a complex topic for me to explain. And I'm worried that people are going to take it the wrong way, or they're going to twist my words somehow. I want to be extra clear. You're still on the hook for returns. [14:52.4]

Now, of course you can explain your process, just like I said, you can tell your client, Hey, we're invested based on your goals. We're not going to chase the market. We're not going to do that. Because you told me your goals and we're doing this in alignment with your goals, which means that this is really a client education issue. Financial advisors need to train, “train” their clients, that they are maximizing returns just for their goals. They're not maximizing returns for the sake of returns, but they are maximizing returns for the investor’s goals. Because if you're 62 years old and you want to double your portfolio, by the time you're 65, you're probably going to be disappointed when your financial advisor puts you in a balanced portfolio of index funds. And I know that's an extreme example, but investors get confused when financial advisors don't spell these things out for them. You have don't make any assumptions, be very clear. And it also helps to reference studies like Vanguard's advisor alpha, which found that good financial advisors add about 3% more to an investor's return on average. [15:57.2]

So, you can give your clients and prospective clients that data, and you can prove to them that on average hiring a financial advisor pays more than a cost. So, knowing that investors really do value maximizing returns and getting returns, you can say, Hey, our returns are important to you? Let me show you how on average based on studies from Vanguard, this is not my company. Maybe Vanguard is your company, but if it's not your company, you can say, this is not my company. This is Vanguard. They have put out their own research, that financial advisors add 3% on average. And the reason this is important is because there's a lot of hate out there on what financial advisors charge. People are like, I wouldn't ever be a financial advisor. 1% of my assets. That's a lot. Why are you paying for a financial advisor? But what they don't realize is that again, financial advisors on average return, more than they cost, they just have to be educated about why that's the case. Does that make sense, Jonathan? And do you think people are going to twist that into something that I didn’t mean? [17:00.6]

Jonathan: I mean, I don't think you have a choice, whatever's out there people are going to twist, but I mean, it's their job to get us an ROI. So as long as they're doing that, it's not a cost, it's an investment.

James: And you're big into Story Brand and being clear with the story. And there's a lot of potential for a story here. You know what the investors value, they want the returns, that's true. They want someone who can help them reach their goals. So, putting two and two together, if you're a financial advisor and you're listening to this, this is a takeaway for you. Maybe you could create a story about someone who had a goal and you maximize the returns along the way, or you at least put them in it. You've got to be very careful with compliance with this kind of thing.

Jonathan: Yeah. [17:43.4]

James: But you can at least explain how you put the investor in a position to maximize returns and I'll leave it at that. I don't want to talk any more about that. Another interesting finding from the study is that financial advisors put, uses up to date technology at the bottom of what they think investors value. So, this is like up-to-date technology, just their tech stack. Investors put it at second to bottom as well. Hmm, this blew my mind because it seems like everybody in the industry is pushing tech. Who has the coolest fanciest, sexiest gadgets? Clients can log in from everywhere. Do they have pretty graphs? And they have all this other stuff, but guess what? Investors don't care about your tech. They care about getting help with the financial goals, knowing that you have the relevant skills and knowledge. You have to have a baseline level of competency. This is table stakes. I know in past episodes we've discussed about why a certain level of experience doesn't necessarily matter as much as people think it does. Why CFP doesn't matter as much as people think it does. I love CFP. I think people should get credentials. They should maximize whatever they have, but they should view it in the lens of productivity. How much time is this going to cost you? How much effort is this going to cost you? How much energy is this going to cost you versus your alternative. So, I believe that at that they also value being able to communicate with you and have you explain concepts well, and this is strongly related to what I just said about making sure how clients know you're working on returns for their goals, not the S & P 500. [19:19.9]

They value maximizing returns, we talked about that. They value when you have a good reputation, they value knowing you're knowledgeable about tax planning and the tax consequences of investing. So, it is in your best interest financial advisors, to highlight that in your marketing, to highlight that when you meet with prospective clients for the first time, that you will consider the tax implications of everything you do. But full transparency, I got the tech thing wrong. I thought investors value tech more than they did. And I thought that advisors thought investors valued it more, but I was wrong. They don't. And that's interesting. I mean, it is what it is. I'm not going to try to fight the data. I'm not going to try to justify to myself why they're wrong and I'm right. I'm going to trust the data. I am open-minded enough to admit that I'm a wrong at some things. I thought the tech was more important, but there you go. The thing investors value the least. So financial advisors, they put users up to date technology, that was the bottom thing for them. Investors put the technology thing at the second, but at the very bottom of what the investors value is an advisor who, and this it's going to be crazy. Get ready, drumroll…financial advisors are about to have a hissy fit. It is and I quote “an advisor who helps me stay in control of my emotions.” There is this mythology out there that. [20:49.8]

Jonathan: Therapist.

James: That when the market takes a dive clients call their financial advisors, stricken with panic, screaming to sell everything. Can that happen? Does that happen? Absolutely. Are there some people out there who get nervous every time? Absolutely, of course, but the idea that everybody rushes to sell and there's just panic selling and their emotions, you're running wild and they need someone to rein them in. It's a myth, with that being said, though, everybody thinks control of their emotions. So, I'm going to play devil's advocate here. Everybody thinks they'll have nerves of steel when times are good, but when things start getting tough things change. So, I imagine that in hindsight, investors will thank their lucky stars that they had an advisor to help them. Plus, there are many situations where one thing, just one thing a financial advisor does can pay for his or her fees for life. Finding someone in tax plan is one way. I mean, you could find a strategy that you could uncover the Augusta strategy for people who have an S-corp and want to rent out their house. You have a business taxes in LLC when it should be taxed as an S-corp in the first place, that's one way, that's another way. Getting a specific type of insurance policy, that's another way. Getting the right assets in the right buckets, that's another way. Merely switching more aggressive assets to Roth and less aggressive asset to taxable accounts is yet another way financial advisors can pay for themselves many times over those things just have to be explained to clients and prospective clients, but it was shocking to me and the few financial advisors I've shared this with that the thing investors value least is the advisor who helps me stay in control of my emotions. [22:32.8]

So that is it for this episode. That's what investors value it is different from what advisors think investors value. I hope you take this information and adjust it to your business accordingly. And if you're fuming right now, and you're like, shocked your jaws open you're, you've got steam coming out of your ears and you want to validate what I just said, go ahead and google - dimensional fund advisors, global investor insights study and view it for yourself. Everything I'm giving you here is 100% verifiable. I am not just spouting off at the mouth of running my mouth, giving you ideas that haven't been founded in some sort of research. You can verify what I am saying. So that's a wrap for this week and I'll catch you next time. [23:19.5]

Jonathan: Well, come on, James, what do you have coming up for us next time?

James: So last week's episode, or at least the one that we have on the calendar here was all about inbound marketing. And I have published an article about inbound marketing. I have done a few things on social media about inbound marketing, and it has gotten a lot of traction. People are extremely interested in this topic. So next week's episode is going to be 3 Inbound Marketing Mistakes Financial Advisors Make and How to fix them.

Jonathan: Ooh, I can't wait for that. All right another Financial Advisor Marketing is in the can. Thank you, fam, for tuning in and we'll be back in your earbuds next time. [23:58.4]

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