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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: Financial Advisors, welcome to the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. This week's episode is going to be a little controversial, but that's okay because I'm prepared to discuss controversial topics. I am prepared to tell you what other people won't because I care about you and I want you to succeed. The title of this episode is “The Worst Personality Type for Financial Advisors”, so I will get right into it, no intro, no story. [00:56.7]
If you haven't taken the Myers-Briggs personality test, I want you to take it. I know there are some people out there who bash it, but I’ve found it to be more helpful than not. The biggest criticism of the Meyers-Briggs test is that it has poor test retest reliability, which means if you take it 10 years from now, you might get a different result than what you get today. But that's good. I think that's a great thing, especially if you understand what I'm going to tell you in this episode.
The Myers-Briggs Personality Profile is made of different personality preferences, which fall into four categories.
Do you prefer to focus on your outer world or your inner world? This is extroversion, which is represented by an “E”, and introversion, which is represented by an “I”. You've heard the personality types are like ENTJ, INFP. I'm going to explain the letters to you here. Those are “E” and “I”.
Next is, do you pay more attention to the information that comes in through your senses, which is “S”, or do you pay more attention to the patterns and possibilities that you see in the information that you have, which is intuition or “N”? “S” is sensing. “N” is intuition. [02:05.0]
Next, do you make decisions based on objective principles and impersonal facts? If so, this is the thinking preference, represented by “T”, or do you put more weight on personal concerns and people involved? That's the feeling preference, which is represented by “F”.
The fourth preference is how you like to live your outer life. If you'd like a structured, decided lifestyle, then you have the judging preference. If you like a more flexible and adaptable lifestyle, then you have the perceiving preference.
We have E and I, so extrovert and introvert. You have S/N, which is sensing and intuition. You have, what is it? T and F, so thinking and feeling, and then you have “J” and “P”, which is judging and perceiving. [02:48.5]
According to the 16Personalities institute, the most common personality types are ISFJ, which represents 13.8% of people, so that is introvert, sensing, feeling, judging. Then you have ESFJ, which is 12.3% of people. You have ISTJ, which is 11.6% of people. You have ISFP, 8.8%. You have ESTJ, which is 8.7%.
Do you notice anything strange about these personality types, ISFJ, ESFJ, ISTJ, ISFP, and ESTJ? Is there anything in common there that you notice? If you're paying attention, you may have noticed that they all contain the sensing preference, the S preference, instead of the intuition or N preference.
Earl Nightingale once said, “If you don't have a good model for success, just look at what everybody else is doing and do the opposite.” It's not a coincidence that the S-personality preference is the most popular, and most people are broke. That is the controversial part of this podcast, but hear me out, I just want to make my case here because S’s are going to redeem themselves later on in the podcast episode. [04:04.4]
But people with the S preference, they're not wired for forward thinking, and forward thinking is a required skill for generating wealth. This doesn't make them bad. It has nothing to do with IQ or experience. Their brains are simply not equipped to handle thinking long term or seeing the big picture. They are more likely to agree with statements like these.
“I'm typically grounded in the present.” Successful people are future-oriented. They're not grounded in the present, at least not most of the time. They're thinking about what's going on in the future. What is their next move? What are they going to do next? Where are they going? Where are they headed?
People with the S preference, they agree with “I prefer concrete tasks with a defined course over open-ended ones.” That's how employees think. Employees want people to tell them what to do. If you're an entrepreneur, then your whole life is an open-ended activity. If you're your own boss, then you get to control your calendar. Your calendar is always open, until you decide to put something on it. [05:03.1]
They also agree with the statement, “I trust my lived experience over anything else.” I hate to break it to you, but successful people are generally open to listening to people who can help them instead of relying one hundred percent on their faulty experiences.
Think about how silly this is. Say you want to lose weight because you're obese. You've struggled with weight all your life and you've finally set a goal to lose some weight. Why on earth would you listen to your experience? All you've known is being obese. You need to listen to someone else's experience. There's an old saying that goes like this, “You would do better if you knew better.” You can't do better if you're only listening to your experience because you don't know anything else. But that's how S’s think.
Finally, they would agree with the statement, “My train of thought is more linear than abstract.” Successful people definitely do not think linearly because growing a business is not a linear process. Marketing is not a linear process, or at least it shouldn't be. If it is linear for you, then, at some level, you're doing something wrong. [06:08.8]
Based on my experience, and again, this is my experience—I cannot speak for you. I cannot speak for other people. I can only speak for myself—and based on what I have seen, the financial advisors who struggle the most are people with the S-personality preference. Again, this does not make them bad people. Also, personality is not permanent. It's possible to mold yourself to be more of an N. It is difficult, and it does take time, but it can be done. The only exception to this is one part of the S preference that is extraordinarily beneficial, but we'll talk about that later.
I'm going to share something about the most common personality types among millionaires, and you're going to notice something pretty darn cool. The reason S people struggle is, just like I said, they have trouble thinking for themselves. They're not as future-oriented as they could be. They need extra hand-holding and a step-by-step plan for everything they do, even though the real world doesn't work this way. They struggle to see the abundance of opportunities awaiting them in the future because they're not as future-oriented. [07:14.0]
Those with N-personality preferences, they're more likely to agree with these statements. I went through the statements for the S preference. Now I'm going to go through some statements for the N preference.
They would agree with “I solve problems by leaping between different ideas and possibilities.” Bingo. Let me tell you a little secret. The number one thing I’ve seen that has radically transformed financial advisors’ businesses is having multiple marketing strategies. This means having things like cold calls and direct mail work together. This means having your social media pages work with your website, and your website working with your email marketing system. This requires being able to see how different things work together.
The N people, the ones with the intuition preference, they're the ones who get it right away. They immediately understand multiple marketing strategies. They take to this stuff like fish take to water and it is incredible to see. S people, they struggle with it. [08:10.2]
N people, they would also agree with “I'm interested in doing things that are new and different.” Here's another saying for you. What got you here won't get you there. If you want to achieve a result you've never achieved before, you have to do things you've never done before, and people with the N-personality preference are more open to doing new things.
Sometimes I’ll hear from a financial advisor who says he or she wants to get new clients and make more money. Then I’ll say something like, “Okay, do XYZ,” and the advisor doesn't do it. The advisor would rather stay stuck in his or her comfort zone and then achieve the goals. That's classic S behavior. If you want to get more results with LinkedIn and you're not currently messaging anyone, and I tell you that 94% of financial advisors who are seeing success on LinkedIn are using the direct messaging function, and you're like, “Hmm, yeah, I’ll stick to my experiences that haven't worked,” you're going to get the same results. [09:04.0]
The N-preference people also agree with “I pay attention to patterns when examining information.” This is really helpful because if you are trying to build a marketing machine and you realize you set more appointments when you write emails a certain way, that's called a clue, and if you find out that people respond to a certain headline more than another headline, that's another clue. You can start piecing these things together to see patterns, and if you can see patterns, you can benefit from them. You can extrapolate the data, and that is going to work in your favor.
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.
I got really curious with this personality-type stuff, and I went down the rabbit hole. I googled which personality type makes the most money, and, apparently, it's ENTJ. [10:11.6]
There was even a study done which analyzed 72,000 people's personalities and cross-referenced them with their incomes and confirmed this. ENTJs make the most money. They're career-focused. They see things from a long-range perspective, and they're usually successful at identifying solutions to problems.
Who is an ENTJ? Let me just give you some people here. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, they're all ENTJs. I am personally an INTJ because I'm a little more introverted than extroverted, but I think introversion has its own unique set of advantages that we can all use, if we're introverts, and that's really one of the points of this episode—no matter what your personality type is, you should use it to your advantage. [10:59.1]
Are there some personality types that have more success in certain fields? Absolutely. Someone who is extroverted is probably going to do better in politics than an introverted person, because it requires shaking hands, kissing babies, getting out there, talking to people, like public speeches. This is stuff that extroverts are going to thrive with, and introverts, not necessarily so.
But if there's any part of your personality you should focus on changing, it should probably be becoming more of an N instead of an S. Does that mean you should completely abandon all S traits? Not necessarily, because Let me give you some more data, and I'm going to tie this all back together.
Remember I said I was going to share something cool about the S's? Here it is. Ramsey Solutions did the largest study of millionaires ever done and found that the top five careers for millionaires are engineer, accountant, teacher, manager, like management, and attorney. [11:59.0]
Here's what I did. I googled the best personality type for engineers, and guess what I found? ISTJ. Hmm.
I googled the best personality type for accountants and found the same thing, ISTJ.
I did the same for teachers, and their personality types were all over the place because kindergarten teachers typically have different personality types than high school teachers who have different personality types than professors, and so on and so forth, so that was all over the place. Yes, successful teachers did have ISTJ, but it would be disingenuous of me to sit here and say, “Oh, yeah, teachers also had ISTJ,” because, quite frankly, it was all over the place.
I moved on to management. I found out that some of the best bosses are typically ESFJ, so no T. We had the S and the J still there. They're SFJ.
Finally, I searched the best personality type for attorneys, and, apparently, a study was done in 1993 by a guy named Larry Richard, and Larry found the most prevalent personality type for attorneys is ISTJ. [13:05.2]
Wait a minute, if I'm saying that most people are broke and most people have the S-personality preference, how is it possible that these occupations are most likely to become millionaires? Because I don't see an N there. ISTJ, ISTJ, all over the place, so there are some Ns in the teachers, but it's not prevalent. Then you have ESFJ and ISTJ. Hmm, that seems like it doesn't fit. What are they doing in their jobs that allows them to succeed? What can we learn from these occupations that are most likely to become millionaires? The answer is that they're all following systems. That's the key here.
Engineers follow systems all day long. That's what they do. They follow structural limits, the laws of physics, best principles, and more. Teachers follow lesson plans. They even borrow and sell lesson plans. These are systems they use to teach their materials. [14:03.2]
Managers, they work within company rules and regulations. They follow employee handbooks. They hold their employees accountable to the systems within the business. Attorneys have what is, arguably, the most rigid or most flexible—depending on who you ask—system of all. It's literally the law. They must operate within the confines of the law, which is also a system.
It is my contention that the best thing you can model from the S-personality preference is the ability to operate within systems. If you can think exponentially, if you can see patterns, and if you can stay future-oriented, all while creating and working within systems, then you are going to be unstoppable.
You're probably thinking, What about the other personality preferences? Don't worry, I'm not going to leave you hanging. I thought it was pretty cool that ISTJ came up so frequently in the occupations most likely to become millionaires. Elon Musk is also an INTJ, so shout out to Elon Musk. He has the same personality type as yours truly. But let's focus on the other letters. [15:07.6]
We already know what introverts and extroverts are. That is the I and the E. We've also covered S versus N. Let's move on to thinking versus feeling. Successful people are more likely to have the thinking-personality preference, and they are likely to agree with the following statements. “I notice inconsistencies.” “I make decisions with my head,” and “I can be seen as too task-oriented, uncaring or indifferent.”
Finally, you have perceiving versus judging. The judging preference shows up in a lot of millionaire professions, so that is the J part of this, and those with the judging preference are likely to agree with these statements. “I like to get my work done before playing.” “I like to make lists of things to do.” Legendary marketer Dan Kennedy likes to say, “If you're not making lists, you're probably not making much money.”
I've found that to be true, both in my own life, with friends and entrepreneur friends, and people that I know, and also financial advisors in the Inner Circle Newsletter and financial advisors I interact with just on a regular basis. I've noticed that the most successful ones tend to make lists. [16:14.6]
The people with the judging preference also agree with “I plan work to avoid rushing just before a deadline.” If you identify with those statements, then you are probably someone with the judging preference. Seriously, I want you to know yourself. I want you to dig deep into what your personality is and use it to benefit you. Don't try to fight your personality. Go with what you have.
I hope you found this podcast episode helpful. It probably leaves you with more questions than answers, and if so, that is good. But the bottom line is that the S-personality preference, it's really like a knife. It can be used to save a life, but it can also be used to take one. The key is to know when to use it and which aspects of it to use effectively. [17:01.5]
If you try to cut with the handle part of a knife, you're going to be ineffective. Likewise, if you try to avoid the systems oriented part of the S-personality, then you're putting yourself at a disadvantage there, too. It's important to embrace the aspects of both the S-personality preference and the N-personality preference. Remember, if you can take the N-personality preference and still work within systems, like teachers, accountants, managers, and attorneys, then you are going to have a good time. It is pretty cool that the T and J preferences seem pretty consistent, though. It's something to think about.
Again, if you haven't taken the Myers-Briggs personality test, go ahead and take it. Learn more about yourself to see what you need to do to maximize your odds of success. This episode isn't meant to be a downer if you don't have these preferences. Instead, it's meant to encourage and uplift you to help you adapt some of the traits that can help you, like E or I. I mean, I know successful extrovert financial advisors. I know successful introvert financial advisors. You want the N traits of the N and the S, and, apparently, the T and the J came up quite a bit for the millionaire occupations. [18:13.5]
So, if I were putting something together or a perfect financial advisor together, it would be an ENTJ, which goes right along with the data, which says the ENTJ is the most successful personality type, or at least the personality type that makes the most money.
With that said, I will catch you next week.
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