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Your productivity as a financial advisor directly impacts how much money lines your pockets each month.

While that sounds like good news, here’s why it’s not:

Many financial advisors I’ve coached were allergic to organization. It’s nothing but a boring waste of time to them. But that’s only because they don’t understand this obvious truth:

The more organized you are, the more productive you become, and the more money you can make as a financial advisor!

Sure, organizing your desk isn’t as sexy as publishing a new marketing campaign. But it will increase your income, productivity, and peace of mind.

In this episode, you’ll discover 8 easy ways to become more organized (even if you’re a naturally unorganized person).

Ready to “nuke” your competitors by becoming more organized? Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • How to increase your income simply by organizing your pantry (0:52)
  • The weird way reorganizing your sock drawer helps you land higher-quality clients (2:27)
  • Why throwing out old clothes you never wear instantly makes your marketing more effective (4:35)
  • The obvious, yet overlooked trick for landing more clients from your online ads (8:51)
  • The “8 Forms of Waste” system used to streamline factories that helps you shower in cash as a financial advisor (10:37)
  • How to deliver better results for your clients by giving them less value (14:58)
  • The sneaky way to boost your teammates’ productivity by simply being their friend (17:53)
  • Why adding every nitty-gritty detail of your day to your calendar doubles your productivity overnight (19:15)

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: Welcome to the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. This episode is going to be titled “How Financial Advisors Can Become More Organized – Part 2.”

Back in March 2020, I did an episode titled, “How Financial Advisors Can Become More Organized.” That's the Part 1, and I thought it would be one of my worst performing podcast episodes. I am a very organized person. I love organization. I know that organization can help financial advisors become more productive, and since productivity is directly related to financial advisors’ personal income, being organized is a way to increase income. I thought it was an extremely important concept, but I figured that the idea of organization would be so boring that it wouldn't get many downloads. [01:13.4]

Thankfully, I was wrong. It ended up doing fairly well, and to this day, it is one of my most-downloaded podcast episodes. I don't know how you listen to podcasts, but this podcast has almost 200 episodes now, and when people discover it, they don't typically start at Episode 1, then listen to Episode 2, then listen to Episode 3 and go all the way to this episode. They will typically start scrolling and go through dozens and dozens and dozens of episodes at a time and pick out episodes that appeal to them. My episodes are designed this way, too.

For example, if someone wants to learn about LinkedIn marketing, that person can scroll through the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast episodes and download the ones with “LinkedIn marketing” in the title. The same concept applies for niche marketing, content marketing, goal-setting habits, and more. These episodes have catchy titles, or at least, I try to make them catchy. [02:04.8]

I thought “How Financial Advisors Can Become More Organized” was a terrible title, but it ended up doing well and I never would've guessed that an episode about organization would've done so well, but here we are. I wouldn't be a good marketer if I didn't take advantage of it and try to squeeze a little more juice out of the concept, so here we are. I'm talking about organization, once again.

The good news here is that I'm a very organized person in real life. I'm the type of person who has the sock drawer inserts from the Container Store. I have long socks on one side, ankle socks in the middle, dress socks on the other side. I'm also the type of person who has different containers for different foods in the fridge and in the pantry as well.

I don't keep pasta in its original container. I will take it out and dump it into a separate container. Not the cardboard one, these are like the plastic ones from the Container Store. I use these specifically for holding pasta. I've got a long one for spaghetti. If I buy spaghetti, I will take it out and I will put it into this container. My pantry, it looks like a well-played game of Tetris, and the same thing applies to pretty much every room in my house, and even in the garage specific tools have specific shelves. Painting tools go on one shelf. Car detailing tools go on another shelf and so on. [03:18.3]

When people come over, they're typically impressed with how organized the house is. I love it. I love the compliments like, “Wow, your house is immaculate.” Maybe they don't say that, but I imagine they say that and, in my imaginary world, I imagine people coming over and say, “James, your house is immaculate. How is it so perfect? You're wonderful. All bow down to James.” No, I'm just messing with you. But at the same time, people are kind of freaked out that I would spend that much money on stuff from the Container Store, and, no, the Container Store is not a sponsor, but, hey, it's worth it to me.

Anyway, I'd like to give you some tips on how you could become more organized. I'm going to talk about both personal life and business life because organization is a golden thread that runs through both. If you are not a naturally-organized person, the best thing you can do is to dip your toes in the water. That way you can begin to see how organized people think. You will begin to see ways to create your own systems, your own processes, as you go along. [04:14.0]

Not everyone organizes the same way. You have probably learned this coming through elementary school, middle school, high school, college. Some people use folders. Other people use binders. Some people use the zip binders. Some people use tabs. Some people highlight books. Some people write in books with pens. Some people write on a completely separate page and can't even fathom marking up a book.

People have different systems and, in my opinion, the best way to get to know your organizational style and to dip your toes in the water is to start decluttering, and an easy way to do this is to go through your closets and your dressers, and look for clothes you no longer wear. Do you have an Alan Jackson shirt from 1997? Do you have American Eagle jeans you bought when you were in college? Ask yourself, are you really going to wear these items or are they merely taking up space? If they're taking up space, I want you to create two piles, a trash pile and a giveaway pile. [05:09.9]

Once or twice a year, I will do this. I'll donate clothes to Goodwill or some other place, and when you do this, you will free up space and you will begin to see how you organize, how you approach organization, how you approach decluttering, what feels good to you, and you can build on your style.

You also see how letting go of certain things can create room in your life. Nature abhors a vacuum, so you're going to get rid of things and then you're going to fill that space up with, hopefully, better things.

Now, of course, this happens in the physical realm, but you can do it in the mental realm as well. This is the classic automate, delegate, eliminate exercise in business. This is where you list out all the tasks you do on a daily basis and you see which things can be automated, which things can be delegated, and, yes, which things can be eliminated. You can start to think about this. You're going into the mental realm and you're doing elimination. You're eliminating stress. You're eliminating worry and, yes, in the physical realm, you're eliminating actual tasks that get done in your business. [06:10.4]

Eliminating things is the fastest and the easiest way to give yourself more space to declutter in everything, and I’ll give you an example. Once upon a time, I had a financial advisor email me, telling me that he was posting on Twitter because some person had told him he needed to be on all the social media channels. Yet the advisor hated posting on Twitter and had never gotten a single client or even a single inbound lead, not even one from Twitter in over a year. I bet he got a couple and then he started doing more and more. It’s just a random chance this person reached out, but essentially he wasn't getting any inbound activity.

His time was much better spent on LinkedIn. Shocker, right? I mean, I talk about LinkedIn all the time. LinkedIn is an amazing, amazing, amazing place for financial advisors and he was getting inbound leads there. I told this advisor to eliminate Twitter from his marketing strategy, not exactly like genius marketing advice. It's not even like high-level stuff and just, “Hey, this thing isn't working? Hey, you should probably stop doing that thing that isn't working.” [07:10.8]

He didn't need to post more. He didn't even need to improve his skills, at least not right away. All he needed to do was double down on what was working for him, so he decluttered his marketing strategy. Imagine how awful life would be if we could never get rid of things. What if we were shackled with all our possessions, from birth to death, it would be a terrible existence. Being able to get rid of things is an incredible gift. Plus, a lot of good marketing is about elimination.

The chance of you getting everything right on the first try is low. You hitting a home run on LinkedIn with your very first headline, chances are that's probably not going to happen. I mean, I do give you a good launching pad with the “How to Get Clients With LinkedIn” program, but that's neither here nor there. The chances of you writing an incredible direct-mail piece on your very first try and getting a massive number of inbound leads from that is very low, so you must try new things, and as you try new things, you eliminate the old ones. [08:09.2]

It's similar to how you will get rid of clothes and buy new ones or better ones, better clothes. You get rid of shirts that don't fit so well. You get better shirts. You buy a pair of shoes and you realize they wear out too quickly, so you don't buy them again, or you buy a pair of God's gifts to feet, crocs, and you buy seven pairs at once like I do. I have one pair of crocs for every day of the week.

I’ve found crocs work well for my lifestyle, which is pretty much working from home all day, and if I'm not working from home, I'm traveling usually on a plane and they make great plane shoes. You have to go through TSA, pop those little suckers off. Here you go. Here are my shoes. You get through the little metal detector and you pop them right back on, so I’ve found something that works for me and I’ve amplified it.

Think about something like online ads. A lot of my personal success with online ads comes because I'm able to turn off the losers. I'm going to repeat that again because this is a very important point. I really want this to sink in. I know it's cheesy when podcasters are like, “Let me say that again. I said something super important so I'm going to repeat it,” but, seriously, like this is very important. [09:11.7]

A lot of success, not just my success, with online ads comes because you're able to get rid of the losers. You're able to let your winners run. Like the stock market is saying goes, you're able to let your winners run and you cut your losers. If I have four ads that lose money and the fifth ad makes a lot of money, the fifth ad can actually make enough money to have my entire account become profitable. If I was never able to turn off the losing ads, my overall account would likely not be as profitable or remain unprofitable and that wouldn't be so good, so thank goodness for elimination.

If you're the type of person who likes to get takeaways from podcast episodes, here's one for you. Look for one thing in your marketing life that you can eliminate. Perhaps it's something that hasn't worked at all. Maybe it's your least profitable marketing activity. You can drop from the bottom and add to the top, like I recommend doing with your clientele. [10:04.8]

If you have five marketing activities and the fifth one just absolutely sucks, is not working that well, just drop it and add to the top. Do more of the top stuff. Typically, this is going to be a combination of LinkedIn marketing, email marketing, improving your website, things like that. If you are trying to do seminars and the seminars or just not working for you, they take a lot of time. They take a lot of money. They take a lot of other resources. They take time from your virtual assistant, if you have one, from your associates, if you have some. Get rid of it. Eliminate it. Don't be afraid to just eliminate this stuff like you're decluttering in your life.

This might be an obscure reference, but if you've ever been through Lean Six Sigma, then you might remember that it wages war on waste. A lot of successful organization comes down to getting rid of waste, and in Lean Six Sigma, there are eight forms of waste that can be eliminated. [10:57.0]

Number one is transportation. This is the unnecessary movement of products or materials within an organization. Lean Six Sigma is really about the factories and converting raw materials and working in industry.
DuPont would use Lean Six Sigma or Gore-Tex, they would use Lean Six Sigma, because they're manufacturing stuff.

Number two is inventory. This is where you have excess inventory just taking up a lot of space. Your cash is not used as efficiently as it as it could. You have some waste there.

Number three is motion. This is the unnecessary movement of people, including processes that have more steps than necessary, and this is one form of waste I see with financial advisors. They have multiple forms. They have lots of copying and pasting, lots of notes and other stuff that has unnecessary movement. [11:46.8]

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 $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 instance, I remember one financial advisor who told me how long it would take him to record video messages to send to prospective clients, because he read somewhere all video marketing works and you should send videos to prospective clients. Maybe I said something about that or maybe he listened to a podcast episode about that and he took action. I applaud that. I love that.

But what he would do is he would record videos on his cell phone, upload them to a file-hosting service like Amazon or Dropbox or whatever. He would download them on his computer and do all this other convoluted stuff that took a lot of time. I told him, “Why don't you just use Loom?” where he could install the Loom browser extension. He could record videos right from there. With Loom, all you have to do is hit record, hit stop, then copy and paste the link into your message. There is no wasted motion at all in this process. [13:00.4]

I had another financial advisor reach out to me about an article I wrote called 50 Things I Wish Financial Advisors Knew About Marketing. If you go to Google and just type in “the advisor coach 50 things I wish advisors knew about marketing” or something like that, it should come up. I think the URL is TheAdvisorCoach.com/advisor-marketing. Advisor with the “O-R”, not the “E-R”, “advisor [hyphen] marketing”.
TheAdvisorCoach.com/advisor-marketing is the article.

He has said, “I saw in this article that you recommended video marketing. Do you recommend sending these messages to prospective clients?” I'm like, uh … yeah, that's kind of the whole point, and something like Loom or BombBomb or some other video service like that, where you could just hit record, hit stop, copy and paste link, you're done, it takes a couple minutes, it is efficient. There's not much wasted motion, if any, within these services.

Number four is waiting. In Lean Six Sigma, this is when employees are waiting due to equipment downtime. Stuff breaks. They're just sitting around the factory line, just waiting, waiting, waiting. I know that as a financial advisor waiting can be a part of life. You're waiting for forms to get sent back. You're waiting on hold with a famous two-letter company or you're waiting for a client to show up to a meeting. [14:15.5]

But one way you can eliminate waste is to have something to do during your waiting time. This seems so obvious, but is a little tidbit that can change your business. It changes your trajectory. You're improving your business just a little bit, but over the long term, it can have compound effects in your life.

I want you to create an “If-Then” rule for your life that says, “If I am waiting, then I will do this task.” A good example is to engage with people on LinkedIn, and, no, I'm not even joking. When you find yourself waiting, hop over to LinkedIn and begin engaging with prospective clients, current clients and influencers in your niches. It’s some of the best time that you can spend, if you're just waiting, if you're just hanging around. You can eliminate that waste and fill it with something productive. [14:58.0]

Number five, speaking of production, number five is actually over production. This is about creating more products than necessary, and I rarely see this in financial services, because it's not like you're sitting around creating more financial plans than necessary. You're not creating financial plans for clients that don't exist or managing money that you don't have.

However, I do see a lot of over-processing. Instead of overproduction, it’s over-processing, and that is number six. This is when you produce more than your customer requires or you produce a higher quality than what is required. In books, if you can get a message out to the world efficiently with or effectively with 200 pages, if you write 300 pages, that is over processing.

The best example I can think of with financial advisors, financial planners, is creating these long, drawn out financial plans that take a lot of time to create and they're really dreaded by clients anyway. Sure, some will read every page, but many just want you to tell them what to do. They don't need a 50-page folder that would get shoved in their money drawer as soon as they get home. [16:02.6]

A lot of my Inner Circle members are successful with simple one-page or two- or three-page financial plans. My point is that they don't get stuck over-processing. They keep it simple. They have a simple financial plan. It doesn't take that long to create. I mean, yes, it takes a lot of experience and it takes a lot of knowledge.

It's kind of like the old story about the guy who hits something with a hammer and fixes the problem in the factory and bills $1,000, and the guy is like, Hey, can you itemize this? Because it seems like a lot of money, you were only here five minutes, and he itemized it and he said, “$1 for hitting the hammer or using the hammer to hit the thing, and $999 for knowing where to hit.” Okay? That's what financial advisors do. Simplicity is beautiful or elegant simplicity is beautiful.

Number seven is defects. This is when you screw things up and it's the best-understood waste because it's easy to see. If you create a problem, you need to fix it. But the final waste is perhaps the most important one and that's underutilized human resources, and this stems from failing to properly put people's talents, skills or knowledge to good use within your operation, within your company, within your organization. [17:15.4]

This is one reason why I'm always talking about picking marketing strategies that align with your personality. One example I gave which resonated really well with people is getting cows to walk downstairs. There's this myth that cows cannot walk downstairs. It's not true. Cows can do it, if you force them, but their legs aren't suited for the task. It's awkward and they're not used to the movements. They really, really, really, really don't want to do it. They hate doing it. They're not good at it, but if you force them to do it, then they will. This is what happens when you try to get people to use marketing strategies which don't align with their personalities. Underutilized human resources. [17:55.3]

The waste also happens when financial advisors hire virtual assistants or associates, but especially with virtual assistants. They will hand over a list of tasks, which is fine. I understand that stuff has to get done and have the virtual assistant stick to those tasks only. What if you hire a virtual assistant who has a side hustle as an online blogger? You'd be a fool not to have that VA writes and blogs for you. Or what if your employee is passionate about video production and produces videos in his or her spare time? That is a good example of underutilized human resources, because you can take that person's talent and use it to benefit your business.
Learn more about the people who are working for you. If you have virtual assistants, ask about their hobbies, their passions, their natural inclinations. You want to take something that they're already good at and put that to good use.

I know this is going to seem like a silly example, but imagine that you hire someone who is an incredible golfer and you can use golf in your business, the actual golf skill. Why wouldn't you do that? You'd be like, Oh my goodness, you golf in your spare time. Heck, yeah, I want to use you for that. But people don't do it with video. They don't do it with writing. They don't do it with communication. They don't do it with any of these natural skills that employees, virtual assistance, associates might have, and it seems crazy to me, but it is what it is. [19:12.7]

Next I want to share with you that the best organization you can do is organizing your day, and you will use two things to organize your day, if you follow the way I'm teaching you. Number one is your calendar and number two is a list or several lists.

You will operate from your calendar, not a to-do list. However, your to-do list will inform what you put on your calendar. Let's switch back from business to personal life. I have a list of routine maintenance stuff that needs to get done around my house. It has things like cleaning appliances, so you put the dishwasher tablet in the dishwasher and run in on the sanitizing temperature. You have the washing machine tablet. You put it right in and you run the washing machine on the sanitization or sanitizing, whatever it is, temperature. Check fire extinguishers, replace air filters, clean gutters, reseal driveway, and so on. I have approximate dates for when these tasks need to take place. [20:11.8]

Let's say that I need to reseal my driveway and I have that as a recurring task every two years. I need to get in touch with the sealcoat company. I need to see what they have available. Their availability dictates what I put on my calendar. When they're available, I need to be home to move anything that they need moved, check their work when they're done, things like that. My list informs my calendar, and the same thing happens with doctor's appointments, dentist appointments, car maintenance, and more.

I have a Tesla model three and one of the things I love about Tesla is that you can schedule service right through the app, so if I need them to come out and install a new cabin air filter, I can do that. I can do the same thing for tire rotations and more. I have these items as recurring items on my to-do list and they get installed into my calendar when the time comes. [21:03.0]

Within the Advisor Coach, as a business, I have a list of hundreds of things that I could do. If I ever find myself with free time, whatever that is, I go to my list and I start pulling items off the list. I install them into my calendar. That way my calendar is booked back to back, no matter what. From the time I start working until the time I'm done for the day, I am working from my calendar. I don't care what comes up. I don't care if there's a distraction. It doesn't matter, all of the stuff on the calendar gets done.

Yes, that requires discipline, but guess what? Discipline and organization go hand in hand and they are both skills, and like any skill, you should not expect to master them right away. Don't get discouraged, if you're not super organized on day one. Almost no one is. It is a skill. Pitching a baseball is a skill. When you first start pitching, you're nowhere near as good as you will be after two years of pitching or 10 years of pitching, because you haven't developed your skills. [21:58.4]

Also, if I have ideas while working on something from my calendar, I will put it on my list. They have a symbiotic relationship. The list feeds my calendar and my calendar feeds my list, because the ideas never stop coming. When they come, they go to the list. Eventually, they make it to the calendar, but I am always working from the calendar every single day. This includes blocks of time to exercise, meditate, catch up with friends, and even read books. Everything is on the calendar, and if there’s a period of time where I look at it and I say, “Hmm, I don't know what goes in that spot,” I will go to the list and I will put this stuff on it.

There's this quote from David Allen, the founder of Getting Things Done, the Getting Things Done methodology, which I really love. He says, “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” So, when I get ideas, I immediately get rid of them. I put them on the list. I don't expect my brain to hold all of the information. I get them out onto figurative or literal paper and store them there. That alone is a form of organization, because instead of having ideas bounce around your head and even exit your head, because we all forget stuff, you can capture everything and put it in one place and eventually get to it. [23:14.4]

That is the discipline part. You can't just put your ideas on a piece of paper and just put it in a drawer and forget about it. You're actually pulling it out. It is an active tool within your business to help you. You are becoming more organized, which helps you become more productive.

That is it for this week's episode. Depending on how well this episode does, I might continue with this concept because I really love talking about organization. I love it. But at the same time, I don't want to overwhelm you with information. I want you to actually do something with this episode and put it into practice, because becoming more organized, like I said, is one of the best ways to increase productivity, and as a financial advisor, your income is strongly correlated with your personal productivity. This means becoming organized is one of the best indirect ways to increase your income.

So, if you like stuff like this, let me know. Leave a five-star review wherever you listen to podcasts. Share it with a friend. It means the world to me, and it costs you nothing.
With that said, I will catch you next week. [24:11.6]

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