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: This week, I'm going to discuss something I’ve never explicitly discussed on the show before and that's neuromarketing. Neuromarketing is the application of neuroscience and cognitive science to … you guessed it, marketing. It's the study of how people's brains respond to advertising and marketing messages.
I like it a lot because it's data-driven and it relies on scientific facts for results. You learn by literally studying people's brains and how they react to marketing. You gain insights into people's behavior to understand what works and what doesn't, and getting them to work with you, to say yes to you. [01:09.0]
Some people don't like the term “neuromarketing”. Instead, they call it something like consumer neuroscience. Whatever it is, whatever you call it, it works and I'm going to give you some tips that can make your marketing wickedly effective. No story time this week, no banter. I'm just going to get right into this.
Number one, the first tip I have for you is to put your strongest material at the beginning and end. There's something called the serial position effect. Researchers have found that when participants hear a list of words and recall them immediately, they have higher accuracy with the words at the beginning and end of the series.
But that's not all because there are other names for these effects or other effects entirely. For example, you have the recency effect. The recency effect is a cognitive bias in which those items, ideas or arguments that came last are remembered more clearly than those that came before it. The implications of this effect are fairly simple. Put the information you want people to remember at the end of your marketing materials. [02:12.4]
If you've been through my email marketing system, Appointments on Autopilot, you have benefited from the recency effect, because one thing I show you to do is to end with a strong call to action in every email, no exceptions. If you put some important information near that call to action, people are more likely to remember it. For example, if you restate your specialty, people are more likely to remember that specialty. This is also why when you're putting your presentations together, you should answer objections near the end of the presentation.
I personally believe that your marketing itself should answer objections—I've talked about that in Inner Circle newsletters in the past—but you should also bring up your objections again at the end of your presentation. That way, they're remembered. Prospective clients won't bring up objections because of the recency effect. The answers are fresh in their minds. They remember the answers. You've already handled the objection. [03:08.2]
There's also the primacy effect, which states that people are more likely to remember things in the beginning than the things in the middle. Essentially, your least important information should go in the middle. Poor middle, it's always getting picked on. Nobody remembers it. The reason I don't like putting objections at the beginning is because the beginning should be where you put your hook or where you lead with your unique value proposition. You definitely want your unique value proposition to be remembered. When you combine the primacy effect with the recency effect, you have a powerful marketing combination.
Speaking of the unique value proposition, that brings me to neuromarketing tip number two, which is to use the contrast effect. The best unique value propositions work because they have something unique. You being a fiduciary is not unique. You providing advice for a flat fee is not unique. You providing tax planning is not unique. There needs to be something that is truly different about you, and most of the time you can take things like tax planning and layer it with something else to become different, to become unique. [04:16.7]
For example, me having a Cadillac—I don't own a Cadillac, but just imagine that I do—me owning a Cadillac isn't unique, but me owning the same Cadillac that Elvis Presley owned is unique. See how I layered that Cadillac? Not unique. Elvis Presley's Cadillac is unique. Okay? If you provide tax planning for a specific niche, you can become unique, and this works because of the contrast effect.
When you are different, you stand out in stark contrast to everyone else. That is what contrast is. The contrast effect states that you perceive things differently based on what you've experienced beforehand. If you stick your hand in ice water, that's literally 32 degrees, right? Right below, right at freezing. Then you stick your hand in lukewarm water. The lukewarm water will feel hot by comparison. [05:08.0]
The contrast effect worked wonders for financial advisors back in 2020, when everyone was hopping on the LinkedIn bandwagon. People were sending absolutely terrible messages and pitching everyone they could. This helped the good advisors stand out, the ones who were actually engaging in talking like human beings. They seemed so much better in comparison. I did an entire podcast episode on this. I think it was called “RIP LinkedIn for Financial Advisors”, like RIP, rest in peace, and it was very well-received. The contrast effect, like I said, worked wonders.
Tip number three is to focus on diagnosis. Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. How would you feel if you were sick and your doctor prescribed something to you without asking any questions or evaluating your symptoms? Pretty bad, right? People do business with those who understand them. They want to know that you understand the way they feel, how they feel, and one way to do that is with a great diagnosis, and the way to get a great diagnosis is by asking questions to make sure you understand the pain. Do not, under any circumstances, jump right to prescribing your solution. That is malpractice. [06:20.0]
Last week's episode was about building trust and boosting credibility. Another way to do that is to truly understand what someone is going through. You do that by digging deep into the person's situation. Many marketing teams make the mistake of only promoting specific features, and if they're trying hard, they will transform these features into benefits, but both features and benefits are meaningless unless they're tied to a person's pain.
If someone tried to sell me a new refrigerator right now, I would not buy. The refrigerator might be amazing. It might have awesome features and benefits, but it doesn't apply to me because I don't have any refrigerator-related pain. If my current fridge broke and I didn't have a way to keep food cold, then I would have some pain, and the way to find that pain or lack thereof is through proper diagnosis. [07:08.0]
If you've been a longtime listener to the show, you've heard me talk about qualifying and qualification mechanisms to filter prospective clients and save time. As simple as it seems, a good qualification question in the refrigerator case is to ask something like, “When was the last time you purchased a fridge?” Once I answer that, let's say, I purchased it 10 years ago, you can explain to me that, if I purchased it 10 years ago, the average lifespan of a refrigerator is 10 years and two months and that I should be on the lookout for something new. You have created a pain within me. You have highlighted a lack that I have that can be fulfilled by purchasing a new refrigerator. I know that's a silly example, but you want to diagnose first.
Now, once you diagnose, you want to move on to neuromarketing tip number four, which is demonstrate the game. Old-school sales training material, I've been through a lot of it. I've been through the Ziglar stuff. I've been through the Sandler Training. I've been through stuff from Tom Hopkins. I've been through stuff from Brian Tracy, Grant Cardone, you name it. I've been through these sales training presentations, the sales training material. I am a student of the game, okay? [08:11.5]
This material likes to point out that people are always thinking about what's in it for them, and that's true. People want to know how they will benefit from investing their time, money, and/or energy with you. Now, I don't think most people are greedy in the sense that they have this like, ah, blood lust for power and wealth, but I can't really think of another good word to describe what I'm trying to say here. I think “self-interest” is good, but it's a little too light, so I'll stick with “greed”.
A strong appeal to someone's greed goes straight to the brain. That's why it's a neuromarketing tip. An appeal to greed, it hits the desire for power and superiority, and as much as you might not like it, a subtle reason people may hire financial advisors is to be superior to other people. They want to have professional advice that others don't, a professionally-designed plan that others don't. [09:03.8]
When you demonstrate the gain in your marketing, you activate these so-called greed glands, and I say this as a subtle reason because people might not even be conscious that they're doing this. They may not consciously understand that the reason they're accumulating and preserving wealth is to feel superior.
They might say, “Oh, it's for my children,” or something like that, but they really want to feel superior. They're superior to the people who don't leave a legacy for their children, who don't leave money. They're superior to the people who don't donate huge sums to charity, stuff like that. They might say, “Oh, I'm saving money for a rainy day,” but when they say that, it's because, all those considered, they want to be superior to other people when that rainy day comes. So, what are some gains you can demonstrate to get your one-way ticket straight to Greed Gland City? [09:52.1]
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 $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.
Obviously, there's the financial gain or the ROI. I'm partial to this one, personally, in the Advisor Coach, because a lot of what I do can be demonstrated in return on investment to financial advisors. For example, there's the Inner Circle newsletter. If you're making 100 grand per year, all the newsletter has to do is increase your income by slightly more than 1% and it pays for itself. That's it, literally just 1%. Everything past that is gravy. You're on the gravy train. If I do 2.5%, you more than double your investment in the newsletter, okay? That's really, really, really easy for me to do.
For financial advisors, there's the Vanguard’s Advisors Alpha study. There are other studies which demonstrate that advisors make clients more than they charge. Tax planning, for example, lends itself to strong ROI demonstrations. There is a tangible number you can give a client, if he or she converts to an S-Corp, in tax savings. There's a clear number you can demonstrate by putting assets in the right buckets. There are things like that. Putting something in 401(k), in Roth, in the correct asset allocation, there is a number you can give to clients in savings, okay? In ROI. I shouldn't say savings. I should say ROI. [11:24.4]
There's also this strategic gain. These aren't as measurable. These are efficiency improvements in what people are doing. If they're currently trying to manage everything themselves and you save them a bunch of time, that can be considered a strategic gain. If they have 10 different accounts and you consolidate everything to three accounts, that is a strategic gain. If they typically spend all day googling financial questions and now they can call you, that is a strategic gain.
Strategic gains are closely related to personal gains and these can be things like peace of mind, feeling of security, a greater sense of accomplishment, and so on. Case studies are great for this, which is why I’ve been talking about case studies a lot lately. You could also use a hypothetical story about someone in your niche, disclaiming that it is 100% made up, of course. [12:11.8]
Make sure you always disclose. “Hey, this is a hypothetical story that I'm using to illustrate a concept. I am not claiming that these are my clients. I'm not claiming that these are even prospective clients. I am just making it up to show you an example.” You can explain all the gains that come from working with you.
Number five is to pick your colors carefully. Now, I'm not the person who gets hung up on branding and all this stuff, because a lot of it is a waste of time. It's kind of like the old entrepreneurial example of someone going out and purchasing 1,000 business cards without even getting a client, without having a unique value proposition. Without doing the work that really matters, right? If people get so hung up on “Oh, what color should my website be?” or “What should my profile picture on social media look like?” how about you get your butt in a chair and you make some phone calls or you send some mailers and you actually get out in the marketplace. That stuff matters. [13:01.8]
But I will admit that color schemes do make a difference. I see it when testing online ads. Sometimes yellow will work. Other times green will work. Gary Halbert, whom I consider the greatest copywriter of all time, found that black type on yellow worked best for his print newsletter. That's actually one of the inspirations I have for my Inner Circle newsletter. It's not necessarily yellow. It's not yellow at all actually, but it's a darker color than white and it's on heavier paper. It is specifically designed to make it easier for people to read and to remember the information, and, yes, I pay that much attention to detail.
Anyway, here's a quick overview of what some colors mean. I encourage you to do your own research on this because there's a lot more out there. There's so much more that I can cover in a podcast episode. My job is to expose you to the ideas. You listen to this podcast episode. It's like 20 minutes. You get a bunch of ideas, get the little gears spinning in your head, and then you go and do your thing. You pursue the ideas you want to pursue, okay? [14:00.0]
Here are some colors.
Red symbolizes passion and energy, like Red Bull or Coca-Cola.
Blue suggests authority and trustworthiness. Ironically, this is like Facebook, Twitter. These are the social media platforms. They love the color blue.
Black means luxury and elegance, so there's a lot of black with the Advisor Coach, so ooh-la-la.
Yellow symbolizes happiness and warmth. I guess those are like the Golden Arches, the yellow that McDonald’s uses. They want you to be happy. They also use a lot of red, so they want you to be passionate about their fries and the Big Mac, I suppose.
Orange is creative, lighthearted, youthful.
Green is eco-friendly now. I mean, everything, we're growing green. That's what going green means being eco-friendly, but it also symbolizes vitality and renewal.
White is peace, purity, cleanliness. Dove soap, a lot of body wash soap brands use white because it's all about cleanliness. It's about purity.
Purple is Regal sophisticated, spiritual.
Those are the colors that I have for you. Again, I want you to do your own research on these. Really, if you want to go down the rabbit hole on colors, please feel free to do that. [15:03.3]
Now I'm going to move on to tip number six, which is to use visuals. Now, I can't remember if it was last week's episode or the episode before that, but I talked about how financial advisors should put personal photos on their websites. The example I gave was Disney World. If you love Disney World, include a photo of yourself at Disney World. Photos work really well on social media. They work well on websites.
I don't formally recommend using photos in emails because they are hit or miss. Sometimes people's email, like Outlook, won't automatically load images, and that can be bad, so I don't formally recommend using images in emails, but I do use them sometimes and they're hit or miss. Sometimes they're massive winners. Other times they're absolute duds.
But there's a reason I share a bunch of photos when I travel. I was recently in New Orleans, Louisiana. I loved it there, went to voodoo shops, got myself a little voodoo doll. Also got myself a juju buddy that I travel juju that I can use when I'm traveling, and I shared a photo of my beignets at Café du Monde and people liked it. [16:10.8]
I included the photo in an email and on social media. I had a few conversations with advisors about what I was doing in New Orleans and how much I liked it and how much I love the beignets. I had a hand grenade. I went to Pat O'Brien's. I don't usually drink alcohol at all, but when I'm out, I'm out, baby. I’ve got to get down and do what the people do. When in Rome, do as the Romans do or whatever they say, so when in New Orleans, I had to have that hand grenade.
Like I said, I had a few conversations with financial advisors. If I had some extra time, I would've gone to their offices. I would've met them in person. I like meeting people when I'm traveling. I'm a man of the people. I like shaking hands and kissing babies. Honestly, man, if people support me and what we're doing at the Advisor Coach, I want to get out there and meet these people. I genuinely care about them. I love them. That's just the type of dude I am. [16:57.6]
But, anyway, photos work well. Our eyes are drawn to visuals. Plus, professional copywriters have found that one of the most red parts of a sales letter is actually the captions on the photos, so if you want to improve your marketing from a copywriting perspective and make it more effective, you can put some cool images on your pages, just so you can put some captions in there. Have some strong selling points, write them out as captions, and then put images on the page and put those selling points, a.k.a. the captions, underneath the images.
When I say it like that, the image actually comes last and that's okay because people are going to read the captions and you want those captions to have impact. There's a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words and I’ve seen how the right image can communicate much more than text. I don't know what the right images are for you or your business because I don't know your situation, your niche, etc., but I will tell you that the right image can be very powerful. [17:55.8]
Then number seven, the last tip I'm going to give you, the last neuromarketing tip is to use textural adjectives, and this is a very specific tactic. I rarely give away such tactics on this podcast, but today is your lucky day. There have been studies which have found that textural adjectives, like silky, velvety, slimy, creamy, and glossy activate the brain's sensory areas. These words describe texture. For example, “Are you having a bad day?” doesn't activate the sensory area in the brain, but “Are you having a rough day?” does because “rough” is a textural adjective.
The reason this is important is because increased brain activity has been linked to memory and increased recall. If you want your prospective clients to have a silky smooth, frictionless sense of recall, then I suggest including some of these textural adjectives in your presentations to make them razor-sharp. Huh, see what I did there? [18:57.8]
That is it for this week. If you enjoyed this episode, I have a request for you. Share it with another financial advisor. Share it with someone who could benefit, someone you care about. At this point, there's over 180 podcast episodes. I don't want to toot my own horn or anything, but this podcast is a deep, valuable resource for financial advisors. There aren't many other places where you can find this amount of content that is completely 100% free, so please share it. If you like it, spread the word. And I will catch you next week.
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