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Many financial advisors spend weeks on marketing strategies that never get them a single client. 

Meanwhile, a few advisors magnetize dream clients without spending all day creating content. 

That’s because they accept a few harsh truths about marketing. It sucks to accept failure, but once you’ve accepted the truth, you can unleash growth and attract more clients than you can handle. 

In this episode, you’ll discover 5 hard marketing truths you need to accept to create breakthrough marketing results. 

Ready to get more clients and simplify your marketing? Listen now! 

Show highlights include: 

  • Why ignoring your emotions can turn your marketing into a client attraction machine (3:45)
  • How building personal connections with prospects can sabotage your marketing results and repel clients (5:55)
  • How third grade math can transform your business and give you exponential marketing returns (13:31)
  • Why building a team can kill your marketing results and ruin your business (no matter how much time it saves you) (17:29)

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 advisors 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 advisors grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard.

James: Hey, this episode is going to be about hard marketing truths that financial advisors should accept because there's a lot of different information and misinformation floating around out there that can lead financial advisors down the wrong path.

I care about the profession. I care about financial advisors, financial planners, insurance agents, everyone who is involved in TheAdvisorCoach.com world and the financial-advisor marketing world. I care about you. I appreciate you and I feel like it's my obligation to let you know about these things. [01:00.5]

Sometimes advisors can get fired up about a specific marketing idea, for example, only to hit a wall later in the process, or they pursue marketing strategies that flat out won't work for them, and I’ll talk about both of these in the episode.

These five things are basically about helping financial advisors get out of their own way. I've discussed in the past how I think we are all wired to naturally seek success. We're built to grow and expand, and improve and become better versions of ourselves. That is the way that we are created. We are built to grow.

But sometimes we have blocks. Well, not sometimes. I mean, we all have blocks. It's that our blocks are different because, the blocks, even though they’re all of our own creations, we make them either in the physical world with external obstacles or we make them in the inner world with internal obstacles, and this means in order to get out of your own way, you may need to address one or both of these types of blocks, the external blocks or the internal blocks, so let's get started. [02:03.5]

The very first hard marketing truth financial advisors should accept, in my opinion, is that your feelings about a marketing strategy don't impact its effectiveness or ineffectiveness. This has become a pet peeve of mine because I like to build businesses based on numbers and data. I'm not saying that feelings don't have their place, because they do. You should feel good about what you're doing. You should feel happy, calm, and confident. Those are great things, but your feelings should never ever get in the way of your marketing decisions.

Let me give you an example. A financial advisor might say, I don't like getting daily emails. I feel like they're an annoyance. It doesn't matter. It literally does not matter. If you test daily email versus weekly or biweekly or monthly, you will almost certainly see the daily email blows everything else out of the water. I do not care how you feel about that.

You can test it. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many, many, many, many, many financial advisors with their email marketing, and I don't think I have ever seen a weekly or biweekly or monthly campaign beat out a daily email marketing campaign. [03:10.4]

In one of the Inner Circle Newsletters—I believe it's going to be in the March newsletter. That's right, it is, in the March, 2022 newsletter, so by the time you're listening to this, it's going to be way too late—I'm going to reveal the math behind daily email and why it is so effective, and why it is actually not risky at all. People get so weirded out. They're like, Oh, daily, that's too much. I don't want to do that. They get scared, but it's what you need to do, or if someone says, I feel like email marketing doesn't work well, again, the feelings have nothing to do with it.

Different studies conducted in different places at different times by different companies have all concluded that email marketing has a return on investment from 3,800% and beyond. Those numbers do not care how you feel about them. Your feelings will not impact them whatsoever. If I send an email out today, tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that, the way you feel about email will not impact my results, period. [04:10.7]

In the last episode, which was titled “The Mindset Paradox”, I believe, I talked about how you must get to the point where your beliefs don't matter. Beliefs are important. The way you feel about yourself, your business, that is important, but you need to get to a point where your beliefs and your feelings about certain things don't matter. You need to get to that space in your mind. The numbers don't care how you feel about them at all.

I gave the example of someone who believes the stock market is a casino. Will the stock market continue to crank out returns irrespective of that person's beliefs? Yep. Imagine a client came to you and was like, I feel like Roth IRAs don't grow tax-free. You would be like, Uh, sir or madam, that is factually incorrect. Your feelings have nothing to do with how a Roth IRA operates. There is no more discussion. You can't say, Oh, I feel like Roth doesn't grow tax-free. I feel like HSA doesn't grow tax-free. It's just incorrect. [05:15.0]

I also get a lot of pushback from advisors when I share the stat that 94% of financial advisors seeing success with social media are using direct messages. People will say things like, Direct messages? Gasp, they're pushy. I feel like I should stay out of my prospects’ inboxes. Again, the numbers are the numbers. You can feel any way you want to feel, but your feelings won't impact the marketing results.

I'll give you one more example and then I’ll move on. This one doesn't happen very frequently, but it does happen and that's when financial advisors say things like one-to-one marketing is better than one-to-many marketing because it has a more personal connection, and this sounds good on paper. You're like, Yeah, I want to make a personal connection with my prospective clients. I want to build a relationship business. [05:58.3]

But these people who say that, they ignore the fact that one-to-many marketing, stuff like email, social media, webinars, websites, and more, they can build a personal connection, too. It's not like they can’t, and when those things build personal connections, they lead to inbound leads and they make the advisor far more productive.

When you look at the two over the long term, there is no comparison. I'm talking about looking at the numbers. When you look at the numbers, when you look at the metrics, when you actually get the raw data, which has nothing to do with your feelings, you realize there is no comparison.

Moving on, number two, the second hard truth I think financial advisors should accept when it comes to marketing is that the best way to reach people in your target market is to meet them where they are. This is closely related to the hard truth that your feelings don't matter with marketing, because sometimes I will see advisors do things and embrace marketing areas like where they're comfortable. They like spending a lot of time on Twitter, so they try to get clients with Twitter or TikTok, or Instagram or wherever, or, worse, they say they have a niche market, but then they continue to pursue generalist marketing strategies because that's what they like and that's what makes them comfortable. [07:10.4]

Let me ask you a question. Would you fish in the desert? I hope not. Why? Because there aren't any fish in the desert and you have to fish where the fish are. Speaking of fish, here's a little story about a man named Captain John Rade that illustrates this point. He was a master fisherman. He earned his living from the sea. He was classic salt of the earth. He was out there grinding, hustling, fishing. He had to catch fish for a living in order to sell them to restaurants, fish markets, and places like that. If he didn't catch any fish, he didn't get paid and he couldn't eat either. He caught fish or he went hungry.

But unlike most commercial fishermen, Captain Rade didn't use giant nets, long lines with hundreds of baited hooks, or even a crew. He just went out on his little motorboat with a rod and reel and hooked one fish at a time. [08:05.8]

Now, take a little break for a second. Pause. Time out. I will admit, he would have gotten better results had he brought on team members, had he had all the baited hooks and all those, and so on and so forth, had many rods and reels. He should have done that. But even so, he managed to consistently come home with hundreds of pounds of fish. To put it in perspective, Captain Rade reeled in more fish by himself than 50 casual fishermen combined, and a reporter once asked him about this secret to his incredible success and he gave this answer: “When fishermen go out to fish, they think like fishermen. When I go out to fish, I think like a fish.”

Bingo. Therein lies a major difference between successful and unsuccessful financial advisors. Are you thinking like your clients? I mean, really, are you? If you're targeting nurses, what do nurses do on the weekends? Where do they go? Where do they shop? What are they eating? How are they thinking? Do they have kids? Are they married? What do their spouses look like? What do the spouses do for a living? You might think this sort of stuff is too nuanced, but it's really not. It's what you need to do, and if you're not thinking about this stuff, you are falling behind. [09:18.5]

Hard truth, number three. You can invest time, money, or both to grow your business, and the good news is that this is your choice, but I will give you a few words of caution. Both of these investments can be dangerous. If you have a bunch of money to invest and you don't know what you're doing, you can lose it all. A fool and his money are soon parted is the old saying. If you have a bunch of time and invest that without knowing what you're doing, you'll end up with no more time, and I think we should have a saying called a fool and his time are soon parted as well.

I think a good mixture for this is to start with both, kind of like how you can blend hot and cold water to wash your hands. Sometimes you want it a little hotter. Sometimes you want a little colder. When you're starting out, you probably won't have much money, so you'll have to lean in and invest more time, but your time should be invested with the goal of getting money to invest. [10:12.8]

This is just like retirement planning. People give their time, their energy, their resources to the marketplace to earn money. Smart people take that money that they earn from their time, their labor, their resources, they invest that so the money can eventually replace their incomes. They're building. Lots of people call it like the army of dollar bills. I like that, and this is a very good analogy for marketing.

To continue with that analogy, I don't think it's smart to do 100% money investments all the time, because I’ve seen financial advisors who just try to throw money at situations to fix problems, and even if things work out in their favor, it's not a very efficient way to run a business, and if you keep that behavior up, competitors are going to come and eat your cookies. There's a lot of waste with this. There's a lot of missed potential. You have to mix your money investments with some creative thinking. [11:01.4]

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 $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.

For example, there's a big difference between throwing money at an Every Door Direct Mail campaign, which can make sense in some situations. Very few, but it can make sense. I've seen it work in the past. It used to work really, really well five-plus years ago, and investing money in a targeted direct-mail campaign, which goes specifically to small-business owners making between $1 million and $5 million in gross revenue per year in specific ZIP codes, because the small-business mailing can be tailored. It can be adjusted. It can be customized specifically for the small-business owners, blah, blah, blah, and that will boost the conversions. [12:00.7]

This isn't something you can just throw money at. You can't just get somebody and say, Here, here is $10,000. Go make this direct mail campaign happen. I need this. But, I mean, yes, they can do the logistical stuff, but they can't do the creative-thinking stuff. I've said it many times, you can outsource certain things, but when it comes to your marketing, the creative part, the thinking, the planning, growing “your” business, accomplishing “your” goals, you cannot outsource that stuff.

Number four: marketing without metrics is mostly a waste. I'm going to speak in generalizations here. I know I shouldn't, but here it is. I think most financial advisors would call themselves numbers people. They tend to like tracking numbers, like company earnings, expense ratios, budgets, and more. They geek out over spreadsheets, and I do, too, because they love seeing how numbers work. [12:55.4]

When I was a kid, I did this local television quiz show and I won, by the way. I dominated. I love trivia. I love quiz shows. I don't watch much TV, but every so often I’ll watch Jeopardy. I’m just like, dude, I sweep those categories. They asked me about my favorite subject in school. I said it was math because there was always an answer, until I got to college and I found out that there's not always, always an answer. Thanks, college, for ruining my childhood perception. You can make the numbers make a lot of sense, all through high school, I guess, I should say, and you could prove why something is either right or wrong.

I think a lot of advisors can relate to that. There's something beautiful about numbers and there's something beautiful about equations where you can make these equations work, and this is why it kills me when I encounter financial advisors who don't know their marketing or business metrics.

While I don't offer any formal like coaching programs or coaching packages or consulting right now, I have what I like to call my “force me to help you” price, which is on my website, over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/contact. That's my contact page. It's $2,500 for 30 minutes, and I'm not going to sit here and posture like my calendar is always booked from that because it's not. [14:09.3]

I don't want people to book. Only a small, small percentage of people ever book me through that because, again, it's my “force me to help them” page and I call it that because I really don't like one-on-one consulting that much, but at that rate, I will stop what I'm doing and I will work on your business instead of mine. If you have a very specific marketing problem, it can make a lot of sense.

I had a Zoom meeting with a financial advisor not too long ago where I went over his inbound marketing sequence, and I told him exactly what was missing and how he could fix it, and that short little meaning is going to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years. I mean, I can't say that for sure because I can't guarantee results and I can't predict the future, or things could go totally wrong, right? But I am 99% sure that he's going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years, no exaggeration. [15:01.0]

I bring this up because, on these calls, I will ask questions like this. I will say, “How many inbound leads have you gotten over the past six months?”

“Uh … I don't know.”

“What's your average email open rate?”

“Uh … I don't know.”

“Click through rate?”

“Uh … I don't know.”

“Conversion rate?”

Uh … I don't know.”

That's exactly how they sound, by the way.

I ask these sorts of questions so I can diagnose the problem. I'm not going to prescribe something unless I have a diagnosis, because prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. I still do this even if an advisor comes to me and says, James, I have this problem. It is my direct-mail campaign. I know that this is what it is, and they just explain all the details. I still do it because there have been times where an advisor is just focused on the wrong thing.

A good example is an advisor who wanted to work on his cold-call scripts and his referral-marketing scripts, but I made him reconsider cold calling and asking for referrals in the first place. I showed him a better way and that's worth every penny. He was asking, How can I dig faster? and I asked him, Are you sure you're digging in the right place? [16:09.6]

But you do need to know your metrics. How can I explain this? Let's say your appointments from email marketing drop off. You need to know your traffic metrics to know if it's a traffic problem. If you got 500 visits a week and now you're getting 100, now you know which problem you need to solve.

You need to know your landing-page metrics to know if there's a problem with your landing page. If your landing page was converting at 24% and now it's converting at 16%, there's something wrong with the landing page and you need to fix it.

You need to know your open rates to see if anything went wrong with the delivery, if maybe your email and domain is blacklisted for some reason. Unless you know what your metrics are and you have a benchmark or you have something to which you can compare, you can't accurately diagnose the problem. [17:00.5]

I really, really, really wish more financial advisors would just keep that financial advisor hat on. They're numbers people. They like tracking numbers and tracking metrics, and working with dollars in, dollars out, with budgets and stuff. But just keep doing that with your marketing. Make your little spreadsheets. Keep track of the stuff, please, please, for your sake and for my sake, when you eventually reach out to me, okay?
Promise? Pinky promise.

Number five: you can't hire everything out. This. This is a hard truth for a lot of people, let me tell you, and this is another recurring theme on this podcast because I feel like this whole “outsource everything” thinking ruins a lot of businesses.

Can you imagine if Superman wanted to outsource his superpowers? What if Clark Kent thought to himself, I need to make myself replaceable or I need to teach someone else how to fight crime so I can focus on other things? It would be goofy, right? Superman is not going to outsource his superpowers. [18:03.5]

Building your business, getting clients, doing the hard work should be your superpower. Embrace it. Stop trying to live some four-hour workweek, which has been totally toxic to our culture, by the way. Embrace it. Enjoy it. If you're going to outsource stuff, outsource the things in your personal life so you can focus on your superpowers.

Superman? I get it, Superman should not be doing laundry. Superman shouldn't waste time mowing his lawn or washing his cars. He should be keeping the city safe. But when it comes to keeping the city safe and fighting crime, he should be the one to do it because he is the best at it. He knows what to do.

I know there are financial advisors listening to this who are going to try to make rationalizations and excuses like, Oh, I'm not the best at marketing, so I'm just going to get somebody to handle every little piece of my marketing. No, don't do that. Again, don't outsource the creative stuff, the thinking stuff, the hard work. Outsource the stuff in your personal life. You will gain a huge, huge, huge amount of time back. [19:08.7]

For example, I used to get my food delivered. I used to go out and get food for lunch, and I realized, on average, I could save about 20-ish minutes per day with this entire process by having a meal-planning kit. I’d had a meal-planning kit for dinners for years and it never occurred to me that, hey, I should probably just spend the money and get a meal-planning kit for lunch as well.

I got my meals and my lunches delivered through a company called Fresh n' Lean. Also, I'm pretty sure they use the same supplier as Trifecta. I could be wrong, but I track all my carbs, proteins and fats through an app called Lose It! and whenever I put the meals in, Trifecta also comes up.

But enough about that. Essentially, I got these meals and you just poke them, poke a couple holes in the package, put it in the microwave for three minutes, and, boom, you're done. You can eat your lunch, and it's healthy food. I'm on the protein plan. It's like chicken, broccoli, rice, quinoa, things like that, so I feel great. It's not making me sluggish. [20:10.8]

I'm not an affiliate right now for Fresh n' Lean. I might be in the future. I have no monetary association with mentioning them on the podcast. I just converted my lunches to this and I got a huge productivity boost. Did I try to outsource the stuff within the Advisor Coach? Not necessarily. I can take this time and I can be more productive within the context of TheAdvisorCoach.com, the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. I can get more done than someone else would have. Outsourcing the stuff in your personal life first, if you haven't done that, you shouldn't even begin to think about outsourcing things within your business.

That is it. These are the five hard truths, the five hard marketing truths financial advisors should accept. [20:53.0]

If you haven't subscribed to my email list, make sure you do so over TheAdvisorCoach.com/57. The number 5 and the number 7, 57. The reason it’s TheAdvisorCoach.com/57 is because you get an 80-plus page PDF called 57 marketing tips for financial advisors as soon as you opt in. It's delivered directly to your inbox.

I hope you love this show. If you do, leave a review. Get to the email list. Go to TheAdvisorCoach.com, show me some love—and I will catch you next week.

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