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If you’re a good financial advisor, you want to do the best possible work for yourself and your clients. 

In theory, that’s great—you get your clients higher returns and yourself a bigger book of business. But in practice, this ambition often becomes perfectionism. 

This kills your marketing results—because 5 bad published articles get more results than a folder of 18 great drafts.

But you don’t have to let perfectionism hold you back. In fact, you can conquer it and dominate your niche.

In this episode, you’ll find out how to defeat your perfectionism, start marketing to your niche and supercharge your marketing results. 

Want to stop editing and start publishing? Listen now! 

Show highlights include: 

  • How trying to be perfect makes you procrastinate on your goals (and how to ship things faster to run laps around your competitors) (4:20)
  • The “80/20 squared” rule that shows you exactly which marketing message gets results and which gets ignored (6:08)
  • The weird thoughts that show you that perfectionism is holding you back from achieving your goals (13:30)
  • Why perfectionists get defensive when you point out their flaws (and how to correct this if it’s your problem) (18:14)

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, welcome to another episode of the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. As always, I am your host, James, Mr. Grillin, and chillin himself, Mr. Smoking meat and packing heat, America's number one, financial advisor marketing expert as voted on by a panel consisting of my mother, my cousin, and my wife Pollard. And I'm going to tell you right away that I can't come up with a good title for this show. I have been racking my brain trying to get the perfect one. I just can't. I can't put this out into the universe unless it's absolutely perfect. If you look at the title of this show, you know that I am kidding. It's probably going to be something like a few unorthodox ways to conquer perfectionism and as such, it's probably going to be one of the least downloaded episodes of this show. After all, in order to get downloads, you have to have sexy titles with numbers and parentheses, right. That's just how you do it. You need to be click baity in order to be successful. [01:28.0]

But if you consider yourself a perfectionist, I have a feeling this could be one of the best podcast episodes you've ever heard. And in many ways, I'm creating this podcast episode for me not you. Sorry, I love you, I do care about you, but I care about myself more today because I was a hardcore perfectionist. And today I consider myself a man with perfectionist tendencies. And every so often that side of me will creep out, so I'm trying to get my thoughts out into the universe onto audio. So, I can realize that being a perfectionist does not help me and it won't help you either. So, let's get started. [02:06.2]

So, what is the definition of perfectionism? While the basic idea behind perfectionism is that perfectionist set, unrealistically high expectations for themselves and others. They're quick to find fault and are overly critical of mistakes. They tend to procrastinate on a project out of fear of failure. They shrug off compliments and forget to celebrate their successes. Instead, they look to specific people in their life for approval and validation, and that comes directly from psychology today. That is not my definition, that is from them. And I want to begin with my thoughts on this definition. And in some cases, I don't think that having “unrealistically” high expectations is a bad thing. I mean, everything's impossible until somebody does it. Getting to the moon was an impossibly high standard. Putting an iPhone in hundreds of millions of hands was an impossibly high standard, but those things still got done. [02:57.9]

I think a better way to frame this is improbable standards and I'm making these numbers up right now, but let's say that 99% of financial advisors make less than $100,000 in their first year and the top 1% still only average, $150,000. Again, totally made up these arbitrary numbers. I'm just using these as an example. If you were to come in and say that you were going to make $250,000 in your first year, well, it's not impossible. I mean, it can be done, it's not an impossible standard at all. And I wouldn't want to box you out and say, oh no, you can never do that. I would never want to be a negative thinker. I would never want to put you down in that way, but it is an improbable standard. We can all be objective. We can look at this. We can say yes, that is improbable based on the statistics, based on the averages, based on what people do. Even if you are above average. Cause if you look at the, the 10th percentile, you look at the 90th percentile, you get an average, you realize what the curve looks like as it, a normal distribution is it skewed to the left it's is skewed to the right. You can kind of put the pieces together and you can figure out what is probable and what is not. And we can objectively come together and we can look at something and we can say, yes, this is probable or no, this is not like the, these are statistics. This is how statistics works. So, I wouldn't want to say it is impossible. I wouldn't want to say that is unrealistic. Necessarily, it is just improbable. [04:20.2]

Next, they tend to procrastinate. Yes. I agree with that 100% I've found that success is really attracted to speed, moving fast. If you and another financial advisor are equal in every single respect, except you’re a little bit faster, you're going to win. Perfectionism prevents you from putting stuff out into the universe. And I hate saying that business success is a numbers game because that is not all there is to it, but you do need to put some numbers on the board. You need to put things out into the world to see what resonates and what doesn't. And the beautiful thing about this is that it doesn't have that much to do with psychology. It doesn't matter what you think about it, how you feel, or if you have crippling anxiety, or if you're a smooth as butter across the hot skillet. Because when you try different things, you tilt the odds in your favor. This is how math works. I've been talking about the 80-20 rule for years. People sleep on it because they think it's too simple. They brush it off. They believe that they have complex problems, so they look for complex solutions. You've heard me talk about this before in the show and in my emails and in the inner circle, newsletter, people tend to be attracted to all of the other stuff that people are putting out and it lends itself to this perfectionist disease. Check this out. [05:31.1]

When this podcast, we're going to use this, the beautiful, extravagant, wonderful prestigious Financial Advisor Marketing podcast as an example, for this. When this podcast had 10 episodes, two of them had 80% of the listens. Isn't that wild? Then when this podcast had 100 episodes, 20 of them had 80% of the listens, i.e., the 80-20 rule in effect 100 things, 20 of them generate 80% of the results. So, 20 podcast episodes get 80% of listens. It makes total sense, this is how math works, but it gets even better because you can square the 80 20 rule, which means 4% of your inputs are responsible for 64% of your outputs. So, guess what? Four episodes that's right. 4 out of, 100 of the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast episodes, we're responsible for 64% of the downloads. 64% of the inner circle members, 64% of their clicks and the show notes all the other fancy stats that come with this. But I, I primarily look at downloads when I get a chance. I think I look at downloads maybe once every four or five months, so I should get on that. But yeah, four episodes, 64% of downloads. And again, that's math. [06:53.3]

The cool thing is I can take these four episodes, I can turn them into emails. I can take the concepts and I can turn them into blog posts. I can reuse them again in the future. I can use them for different things. I can talk about the topics again, but you need to understand that I would have never found those four episodes, had I not tried a lot of different things, had I not put the numbers on the board again, I don't want to say that success is a numbers game because it is not. You want to do the right things, but you do have to do enough of the right things in order to become successful. But think about this. What if I remained a perfectionist and only did three episodes, I would have been gambling that my big winner would be in the first three. The odds would have been against me. I like to have the odds in my favor. See, I don't know about you. I don't know if you like to have the odds in your favor or not. I kind of sort of do. I don't want to go against the odds. I want to tote the odds in my favor, whenever I get a chance. If I'm doing something on social media, I want to make sure that I'm doing the things that are likely to get me results on social media. If I'm doing email marketing, I would like to do the things to get me results with email marketing. [07:55.6]

I kind of, sort of, don't like going against the grain. I don't like doing things that make things more improbable than they have to be. And here's one of the big takeaways I want you to get from this show. Many of you are trying to be perfect at the wrong things. This is critical for you to understand. Perfectionism, doesn't matter if you're not doing the right things in the first place. Let's say I'm a financial advisor and I want to work with millennials. I get on a plane. I check into a hotel room. I get dressed up. I even wear a bow tie, right. I brush my teeth. I put on cologne. I head down to the hotel lobby for an AARP conference. It would be goofy like why they're going to be no millennials there, but that's what happens to a lot of you. You redesign your websites without knowing what clients really want from a website. You send out emails without knowing if they're the type of email that you should be sending in the first place, you're active on social media, but the only people engaging with your content are other financial advisors. So, you're optimizing for something that does not attract your niche market. [09:04.2]

And I've used this analogy a lot in the past, but a lot of people ask, how can I dig faster when they should ask, am I digging in the right place? A lot of business success comes down to number one, digging in the right place. This is important. You have to do the right things like, yes, you cannot go to an AARP conference, if you want to attract millennials, you cannot send a letter about becoming a vegetarian to people who purchase from Omaha steaks in the past. You cannot try to do a Democrat party fundraiser to a Republican list. It is just not going to work; you have to dig in the right place. And number two, you have to dig enough. You have to dig a lot, because even if you're digging in the right place, you will not hit gold, if you don't move that shovel. So, get moving. Being in the right place is necessary, but it's not sufficient for building a monster business. Let's go back to the example about the vegetarian letter. [10:01.2]

Let's say that you get a list of vegetarians and you send that letter out. Will it work? Maybe. Will it fail? Maybe. But if you get enough things moving, you're going to realize what works and what doesn't. You're going to exploit the 80-20 rule, just as I have told you. Let's move on. I want to talk about the three domains of perfectionism. And this is, this is interesting stuff. So, the very first domain is self-oriented perfectionism. This is when you try to make yourself perfect. You hold yourself to unrealistic or improbable as I've described standards. [10:38.0]

Hey, financial advisors – if you’d like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James’ monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, The James Pollard Inner Circle.
When you join today, you’ll get more than one thousand dollars’ worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren’t available anywhere else.

Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more. [11:00.6]

There's also other oriented perfectionism, that's another domain. That means imposing unrealistic standards of perfection on others. And in my experience, a lot of this comes down to insecurity. Sometimes people will say that they have high standards for others, but what they're really doing is projecting their own inadequacies, this happens a lot. Parents who get their kids involved in a bunch of stuff like drama, the theater clubs, sports, honor or the honor society, things like that. The parents probably wish that they did those things, so they make sure that their kids go do them. And the classic stereotype for this is the sports Dad. This is the dad that always goes extra hard at his kid's little league game. He screams and he yells, he pushes the kids so hard, they practice at home for hours and hours and hours. And yes, practice is a good thing, but you can have too much of a good thing and it turns into a bad thing. If you know what I mean. It's like relax Dad, just because you failed at sports, doesn't mean you need to take it out on your kid. And that's going to hit some of you pretty hard. I, I, I'm not going to apologize for that because it is what it is. But isn't it funny how many of these sports dads were either about to play D one in college or they were about to go pro except they had an injury, isn't that funny? [12:15.2]

They always seemed to have some sort of excuse, almost always an injury, which kept them from doing whatever it is they tell you they were going to do. They may be a hundred pounds overweight now; they may not have anything going. They may still suck at sports. They may have always sucked at sports. If you talk to the people who went to high school with them, or middle school or elementary school who played T-ball leagues with them, they're like, yeah, he was never that good. But to you, when they're talking to you, boy, you better believe that they were the best thing since sliced bread, but they just, you know, stubbed their toe one day and it crushed all of their dreams, right. I mean, that's how these people work, so. I'm going to get some hate mail for that, but Hey, bring it on. [12:53.2]

The third domain is socially prescribed perfectionism, and that involves perceiving unrealistic expectations of perfection from others. Quite frankly, I'm just going to keep it real with you. I can't relate to this, so I can't offer anything here. I've always been this self-oriented perfectionist. I've always tried to hold myself and my businesses to an improbable standard. That's what I'm going to call it. I try and make myself and my business perfect because that's what I thought was the right thing to do. That's what I just naturally gravitate towards. So, here's some signs you may be a perfectionist. This is going to be like the meat and potatoes of the podcast. All or nothing thinking is the first sign that I have here in my notes. This is so true. Perfectionist, won't be satisfied and therefore, won't put something out into the marketplace unless it meets their standards. And since almost nothing meets their standards, almost nothing gets put out, you can see why this doesn't go anywhere. I would rather get 70% of the results of something that gets done than a 100% of the results of something that does not get done. It seems so obvious when, when you see this and you're like, oh yeah, I would rather have something a little bit of something, rather than everything of nothing. Like, yeah, of course you would. But people still just sit around and they don't ship the darn thing. They don't put it out into the world. [14:11.7]

Another sign is that you're highly critical and I have found this to be more projecting than anything else. When you realize that perfectionist don't get a lot done, you can see why they point out flaws and imperfections in the stuff that does get done. And that's pretty deep stuff. An example that comes to mind is a Facebook ad that's running with a typo and there are these people who are comment on it and point out the typo, which helps engagement by the way. Comments drive engagement, so people point out a typo. It just, it lowers the ads cost. It gets it in front of more people. It, it it's good. It's good for the ad. They will nitpick it, even though they have no Facebook ads. And that one ad is generating thousands of leads. They have nothing, but they're quick to run their mouth and talk about someone who is doing something. Go figure. Perfectionist are also quick to tell you what to do with your money, even though they don't have two nickels to rub together. I remember seeing a financial advisor and I love financial advisors. Obviously, I have a business that helps financial advisors it’s TheAdvisorCoach.com. I've got the inner circle newsletter. I love financial advisors, but there are bad apples in every single bunch. There are jerks. There are losers in every single group of human beings. And unfortunately, financial advisors are no exception. [15:29.4]

I remember seeing a financial advisor bash this guy, just try to decimate him for investing in an ETF that had like a 0.5 or 0.6% expense ratio. He was like, you can just invest in a Vanguard fund for one fifth of that. And he just bashing the guy, right. I can't even think of another word it's just bashing. And while the financial advisor is not wrong. Yes, that is a somewhat kind of, sort of high expense ratio. And yes, you can get lower expense ratios elsewhere. The person he was talking to had $10 million. So, and it was a covered call ETF and the guy wasn't holding it forever, it was just a temporary thing to generate some income and shield them from a little bit more downside. This advisor didn't know the guy's tax situation, didn't know that how much money he had didn't know his goals didn't know anything about him. I think, they were like at a cocktail. It wasn't a cocktail party; I think it was just like a networking event and they were just like casually talking. And he had heard of the guy before, or had like some relation to him, like a referral. I don't even know the full story, but he was just like going off and he's like, okay, okay, okay. Yeah, it's $10 million and it's a temporary thing. [16:36.9]

And like the financial advisor were put his tail between his legs and just run off. Again, perfectionist, they sometimes try to be perfect in the wrong things. They try to decide in their own mind, what's perfect and what's not and then they try to apply that standard to the rest of the world. I'm telling you marketplaces don't work that way. What if I had the most absolutely perfect typewriter that anyone could buy? This is the beautiful typewriter, it’s the most perfect one is the gold standard of typewriters. Well, it wouldn't matter because people wouldn't want it. They would rather have an imperfect computer keyboard or they would rather have an imperfect touchscreen. My standard doesn't matter. It does not matter that I've created this standard in my head of this is what a perfect typewriter is and that everybody should get my perfect typewriter because this is what they need. I'm trying to input my or input my standard onto the rest of the world. It would not work. People want what they want. You have to go with the flow of the marketplace, you being a perfectionist and you being perfect at the wrong things will crush you. [17:42.8]

Another sign is when you get depressed by unmet goals, maybe this is my personal perfectionist side coming out, but I don't think this is too bad. I get the fact that perfectionist, they have unrealistic goals and they lock themselves into a vicious cycle. They set improbable goals. Then they beat themselves up when they don't obtain them. But of course, you're going to be sad when you don't meet your goals. However, I'm not going to tell you to lower your standards. I'm not going to tell you to settle for less. That's just not who I am. So, I get onto the next thing and that is defensiveness. Dude, yes, they get so defensive, especially when they offer criticism and you call them out on it. So, they tell you what to do with your money. And then when you say let's compare brokerage statements, and if you have more money than I do, then I'll take your advice. Or like, if somebody is 62 years old and they have more money than you, but not a lot, just a little bit more money and you're 24, 25 years old. And you're like, yeah, let's compare brokerage statements, let's see if you have more money than I do. And they they've been working in building their wealth for 40 years and you're just getting started and you already have more money than them, come on. [18:48.2]

You know what else is crazy? They get weirded out, even when they get praise. If someone tells them good job, they wonder why the person didn't say great job. They also can't take negative feedback. You know, the old management technique where you say one positive thing, then you see a negative thing and then you say another positive thing. Well, perfectionist will fixate on the negative thing and then think of a bunch of reasons why it's not valid. They won't take the constructive criticism. They won't eat that precious, positive feedback sandwich. You got two slices of positive feedback bread with some negative feedback, meet in the middle and they just don't take it. If someone is giving you advice and that person is getting results that you would like to get, listen to that person. This is another huge takeaway. I want you to get this, if you're struggling with perfectionism, this is what you need. Stop thinking, you know, everything you don't. [19:44.7]

If someone came up to me today and showed me an email marketing system that got better results than mine, I would literally adjust everything today. I would do it today. Before my head hit the pillow tonight, that thing will be changed. I am constantly looking to kick my own butt. I've looked for emails that convert better than mine for financial advisors. I can't find them the minute I do, I'm changing this stuff because I'm passionate about helping financial buyers and I'm passionate about getting them the most results possible. I have looked and looked and looked. I'm trying to kick my own butt every single day. I took an organization course a few years ago, I can't even remember the name, but rather than nitpick everything, I changed my systems that day. I didn't wait, I didn't put it off. I changed my files, my photos, my techniques, everything that day. And I don't want to get defensive. You know, being a perfectionist, I used to get defensive all the time and sometimes I still do. I still get pretty defensive. I'm not gonna tell you that I don't, but it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I also look for financial advisors who fit my situation. I talked to financial advisors about this all the time. [20:46.2]

When I explain things like how getting a mentor can be dangerous. Like there's this standard that is held in the financial services industry that, oh, you need to get a mentor as soon as possible. You need to join a group; you need to network with other financial advisors as soon as possible. That can be dangerous. If you're getting your advice from someone who was super successful in the 1980s, be careful because while the strategies may still be valid, the tactics have probably changed. Make sure you can distinguish between the two. If you're getting your advice from an extrovert and you are an introvert, you're probably going to struggle this isn't rocket science. If you hire an SEO company that doesn't rank for any of their own terms, you're probably going to struggle. If you hire a content marketing agency that doesn't have any good content themselves, you probably going to struggle. If you, this is, this is crazy to me. If you hire a website design company and I don't design websites for financial advisors, I don't have a dog in this fight, I'm just telling you. If you hire a website design company and their website, didn't convert you. You're probably going to have a bad time. Think about this. [22:00.4]

There are website companies out there that have a sales process where they put you in another place outside of their website in order to convert you. Now, this is different. If let's say that someone has like a book, a call button on their website and you book a call through the website, that is a good thing, that is something that you're looking for. If you go to a website design company and they are asking you to schedule a meeting and it's through their website and you book a call through the website, well guess what? The website got you to convert. That is what you want, you want to replicate that in your business. But if they're texting you or if they have a webinar funnel that is completely off their site, like if they're using ever webinar or they're using webinar jam and they're selling website design services and website services outside of their actual real website, that is crazy to me. If they're selling it on LinkedIn, if they're selling it on Twitter and they're like, Hey, you know, I'm sending you this LinkedIn message, because I think I can help your website. Let's get on a call together. And they sell you without you ever looking at their website. Well, guess what they have proven to you that they have a sales process that works not necessarily that they have a website that works at least not on you. So really think about this. [23:06.6]

I have a product called, ‘The Client Getting Website,’ which is available with TheAdvisorCoach.com/website. I made it after doing tons and tons of website reviews for financial advisors, but look at how I sell it on my website. I don't ask for a call on a completely different, like a click funnels page. I don't send you to a complicated funnel. It is on my website and it's designed to get you to say yes while you’re on the site. Does that make sense? So, on that note, I'm going to stop because I'm already over time. I try to keep these episodes at about 20 minutes. I hope this has been valuable to you. If you liked it, leave a positive review. We don't want any of that negative stuff. You give me a positive review whether it's the truth or not just share with me. [23:47.7]

If you want to share it on social media, please do. If you're an over achiever than put something on social media, if you're not connected with me on LinkedIn search James Pollard on LinkedIn, I should pop up. If I don't, I'm not doing a good job as a marketer and send me a connection request. I look forward to speaking with you and I will catch you next week. [24:07.2]

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