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: Financial advisors, this is going to be a great podcast episode, because I'm going to share with you some data that can help you give your clients, and even your prospective clients in some cases, what they want.
But first, I want to make something clear. Based on my notes, this episode is scheduled to come out December 19. It could come out a little later. It could come out earlier, give or take a week, okay? The deadline to lock in your spot for the January Inner Circle Newsletter is December 31 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. [01:03.0]
However, I strongly suggest not waiting until the last minute. If you know in your heart you're the procrastinating type, fight your evil urge and do it now by going to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching. If you're a long-term listener of this podcast, I almost never talk about newsletter issues before they come out because I recorded the episodes in advance, but I'm telling you, you do not want to miss this issue.
There's going to be a 55-minute video bonus titled “How Financial Advisors Can Conquer Call-Reluctance” and it is good. It is a video conversation between me and one of the world's leading experts on call-reluctance, which I also call prospecting-reluctance because it impacts other areas besides phone calls. It can be email-reluctance, messaging-reluctance, sharing-an-ad-reluctance.
The person I speak with in the video, she has worked with Fortune 50 corporations, universities, and international organizations. She's also helped hundreds of financial advisors improve their prospecting over the years. In this conversation, we discuss key traits successful prospectors share, the best way for financial advisors to handle rejection, the most common form of call-reluctance among financial advisors, and more, much more. [02:17.8]
And guess what's even cooler? She helped me. Here's a little story. In June 2015, I personally hired her to help me with call-reluctance and she transformed my life. Call-reluctance, it's a psychological phenomenon where financial advisors, they fear reaching out to prospective clients. They fear self-promotion. There are lots of different forms of call-reluctance. Specifically, there are 16. Now, this is not a call-reluctance episode. I'm just going to share with you a couple things that just … it's about my story, okay?
Some forms of call-reluctance involve being afraid to use the phone. Some forms of call-reluctance involve being afraid to ask for referrals or being afraid to work with wealthy people. In any case, call-reluctance is terrible. It's an inhibitor to your success in business, and conquering call-reluctance is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your business. Imagine how much more effective you would be if you didn't have any psychological hang-ups around prospecting or self-promotion. [03:14.8]
I'm telling you right now, when I hired her—I’ve got the receipts to prove it and she can tell you. She's got the notes. I've got notes, too—from that day, the coaching session, and we took the test and we went through, and she helped me with everything, and that same information that I got that totally transformed my life is also in this video, and it was wonderful.
This is the first time she and I have ever recorded anything together for financial advisors, and it's going to be a gift for Inner Circle members. Make sure you lock in your spot before December 31 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, so you can get it. There will be a download link in the last page of the newsletter, which is a physical newsletter sent to people in the mail where subscribers can download it.
If you think that having literal world-class prospecting advice delivered directly to your door isn't worth $99 per month, then I don't know what to tell you, because I paid a heck of a lot more than $99 to receive the same information that you're getting in this video. [04:12.2]
Conquering call-reluctance, I can't even put the words in place because it helped me so much. It enabled me to seize business opportunities. I had less fear when I was going out into the marketplace. I was more comfortable when meeting with people. I’ve met with people who have hundreds of millions of dollars. I've been there in hoodies and sweatpants, like I'm just myself. I can truly 100 percent be myself because I’ve conquered call-reluctance.
But moving on, I want to share some data with you because it can help you figure out what prospective clients want from you. This is important, because once you figure out what people want, you can give it to them. Isn't that cool? It's kinda sorta what you want to do in business.
The Financial Planning Association put out a report titled “Developing and Maintaining Client Trust and Commitment in a Rapidly Changing Environment.” How's that for a title? Now, I'm going to say it one more time so you can catch it. You can verify everything that I'm telling you. You can look up this stuff. You can check my sources. “Developing and Maintaining Client Trust and Commitment in a Rapidly Changing Environment.” [05:09.8]
This report pretty much verifies what I’ve been telling financial advisors for years. You're not as good as you think you are. Your clients are not as happy as you think they are. Don't get complacent. Don't rest on your laurels. If you think you're putting in enough effort to make your clients happy, you are probably wrong. I know that's not a popular outlook. I know I'm probably going to get some criticism, but again, this is not my opinion. This is not my theory. This comes directly from the Financial Planning Association's report, okay? I'm giving you the data, so let's go through these one by one.
Eighty-seven percent of financial planners said they somewhat agreed or strongly agreed that they helped their clients identify meaningful, personal and financial goals, yet only 49 percent of clients agreed. That's a huge difference. I'm going to hold off on giving specific recommendations until I give you some more data because my recommendations will apply to the other findings as well. [06:03.8]
Sixty-eight percent of financial planners say they use systematic processes to help clients clarify values and priorities. 60 percent of clients agree. Okay, that's not so bad. That's an 8 percent spread, so 68 percent versus 60 percent.
What's up next? Eighty-seven percent of financial planners say they're open to discussing what clients value most in life, but only 50 percent of clients agree. That's another big discrepancy.
Ninety percent of financial advisors say their recommendations are based on their clients' personal goals, needs and priorities, but only 49 percent of clients agree. Yikes, that's an even bigger discrepancy.
Do you want to know why your clients don't think you're making recommendations based on their goals, needs and priorities? Because they don't think you take the time to identify their goals in the first place. That's critical. [06:54.5]
I know there's a trend out there in financial planning that you shouldn't build a plan around, quote-unquote, “goals” because things change, and I somewhat agree with that viewpoint. I get it, I like it. However, you need to acknowledge people's expectations. You can't just violate people's expectations and then wonder why they're confused or why they're not happy, or why you're not meeting their expectations. It's because you’ve violated them. You can't meet expectations if you're violating expectations.
Look, I ride in a lot of Ubers. I've been in Nissans, Fords, Chevrolets, Mercedes, Lexuses. Or, I guess, is it Lexi or Lexuses? Lexi? I don't know. Point is I’ve been in a lot of cars and every single car I’ve been in so far as an Uber, it's had the seatbelt above my left shoulder, if I'm on the driver's side, and above my right shoulder, if I'm on the passenger's side. If I got into a car and the seatbelt wasn't in that spot, my expectations would be violated.
When people go to a financial planner, they typically want, gee, I don't know, a plan for the finances, and putting together a plan typically involves a destination, which is also called a goal, which means they expect that. When you're meeting with prospective clients, you really need to slow down and make it clear that your intention is to create a plan for them and their unique needs. [08:18.2]
I know you've seen their situation before. Someone with a lot of RSUs, yawn. Someone who needs to do a Roth conversion, boring. But to them, they're unique. They're special little snowflakes and they expect to be treated as such. Remember, if they go in expecting the seatbelt to be on the left shoulder and it's in the trunk, they're going to be taken aback, and you can't be shocked or surprised or upset that they're taken aback because they were expecting the seatbelt to be on the left shoulder and it's not, so it's printed darn obvious. [08:50.2]
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.
Even if you have a niche, honestly, especially if you have a niche, because think about the psychology at work when someone hires a niche-specific financial planner. What does having a niche say to the consumer, the prospect, the prospective client? Customized. Having a niche means the advisor isn't generic, the advisor doesn't work with everyone with a pulse. The advisor only works with nurses or teachers, or sales professionals, or one-legged Idaho potato farmers. Just kidding, not the one-legged Idaho potato farmers. It has to be a little bit bigger than that. But there's a custom-tailored experience.
Then when they get in there and they meet with you, and you don't take the time to learn about them, their goals, their needs, the feeling of having a custom-tailored experience loses its luster, because it doesn't seem as custom anymore. [10:07.6]
To use another car analogy, it's like average cars trying to look like sports cars or luxury cars. The new Corvette looks awfully like the Lamborghinis and Ferraris. It's like, no, no, just be a Corvette, be you. Another example is the Chrysler 300. Kat Williams has a joke where he says the Chrysler 300 looks like a Phantom until a Phantom pulls up, and that's what's happening. People work with a financial advisor because they see a Phantom. They're like, Ooh, look at that, that's the Phantom. I want to get in that. Then they get a Chrysler 300 experience, and when that happens, of course, they're going to be disappointed. What else do you expect?
Here are some more findings.
Eighty-one percent of planners say they communicate the importance of all areas of life when creating a financial plan. Forty-seven percent of clients agree. Don't gloss over things. Be very clear. Tie your plan directly to areas of life. [11:01.9]
“Mr. Jones, if you have X amount of dollars in your retirement account at age 63, it means you can take the European cruise you've always wanted to take and it will not derail your retirement.” Boom, just like that. Or “The reason we're doing this financial plan and including a 529 is so little Johnny's time at the University of Florida will be fully funded and he can be a Gator just like his dad.” Tie what you're doing into why you're doing it.
If you think you've already done that, then be redundant, because there exists such a spread between financial advisors who think they're doing a good job versus clients who say the same thing. Please, please, please do not think you're special, because chances are you are slipping up on at least one, two, or three of these things, because I'm giving you 10 data points that you can use to improve your business.
Eighty-five percent of financial planners say they contact their clients on a regular basis to see what changes in life may affect the financial plan. Only 39 percent of clients agree with that. How often are you contacting your clients? I'm not saying you need to call them every other week or, heck, even every other month, but you do need to contact them. You do need to have a systematic approach for contacting your clients. [12:11.4]
When you contact them, don't talk about the financial plan itself or at least only the financial plan itself. Talk about life. Ask about how things are going. Ask if there have been any changes. You can lead the conversation, if you've been taking notes in your CRM, and if you don't have any notes in your CRM about your clients and things that you've learned about them on the way or along the way, shame on you.
If you see in your notes that a kid was on track to graduate, ask about it. If a divorce was pending, ask about it. Even if it's uncomfortable, it's important. If a client was engaged, ask about the marriage. Relate the plan back to life and life back to the plan.
Let's keep it going. Eighty-four percent of financial planners say they communicate in terms clients can understand. Fifty-one percent of clients agree. I don't really want to use the term dumb it down, but dumb it down. Stop worrying about insulting people by dumbing it down. [13:05.4]
Look, I appreciate it when people start with the basics and build from there. If anything, it's a refresher for me. You have to remember, clients aren't financial advisors. They're not the experts. Even the DIY-ers are not the experts. They don't know everything. They are coming to you for a reason. They're seeking help for a reason.
You likely have what I call the curse of knowledge. Because you're so close to everything you do and you work so hard on a daily basis, you don't realize how far above the average person you are. You take for granted all the little things that have gone into your head to form your worldview. Other people don't have that. Again, slow down, take your time, explain things to clients.
It might help you to go back to the basics. It might help you to pretend to be a prospective client, to search for something, to pretend that you are in your prospective client's shoes and you're looking for a financial planner, and you have no idea what any of this means. How would you explain it to someone like they're 5 years old? So, ask them. Ask them along the way, “Do you understand?” subtly. Get these people to paraphrase back to you what you're saying so you can double check it and you can verify. Do these people understand or do they not? [14:19.3]
Eighty percent of financial planners say they explain the pros and cons of investments to clients. Forty-six percent of clients agreed. That one is pretty self-explanatory. Explain the pros and cons. Be very clear. Have a little printout, have a slide in your presentation, if you're virtual. The pros and the cons of the investment. Be very, very clear.
Eighty-three percent of financial planners say they give their clients as much financial information as desired. Forty-seven percent of clients agreed. Your clients probably think you're not giving them enough education, information. Look, I'm not really a big believer in education as a marketing tool, because there's a reason why educators get paid the money that they make and entertainers make the money that they make, and entertainers make a heck of a lot more money than educators in the marketplace. [15:07.2]
But once someone is your client, and the original term or the meaning of the word “client” is to care for, to place under one's care, in order to do that effectively, people need to understand what they're doing, why they're doing it, how they're doing it. They need information and you have to be the person to give that information.
Next up, 69 percent of financial planners say they keep their clients well informed about investment performance even in down markets. Thirty-eight percent of clients agree. A broadcast email ain't going to cut it. Be proactive. Make the phone call. Send the personalized email. Let people know they can call you or reach out to your office if they need anything. Of course, you don't want to scare anyone. You can explain that everything is fine, that you've made a plan for a reason, and you might even be able to highlight some of your strengths. This could be a good thing. This could be a blessing in disguise.
Those are the 10 pieces of data I wanted to give to you. My hope with this episode is to illustrate to you with real data that you can verify for yourself that there is a massive gap between what financial planners think they're doing and what clients perceive. [16:15.8]
There is no right or wrong when you're dealing with perception. Have you ever gone to someone's house and that person says, “Oh, I'm sorry, it's such a mess in here,” and you look around like, Where is this mess of which you speak? The house is freaking spotless, right? Their perception is that it's messy. Are they wrong? Not necessarily. It's merely what these people perceive. You have to work with their perceptions.
You could think you're providing the best service in the entire world, that you're giving information, that you're contacting them frequently, that you're tying the plan back to life. But if your clients don't agree, then it doesn't matter. They'll still leave you. They'll still be unhappy. They still won't refer.
Do you see what I'm saying here? I really want you to get this and I’ll try to sum it up in a couple of sentences. Slow down. I've said that a lot during this episode, but it is very important. Slow down. Communicate more. Ask more questions, and most importantly, love your clients. Seriously, just love them. Love them as if they were you. [17:14.7]
How would you want to be treated if you were in their shoes? That's important. A lot of people say, “Hey, how would I want to be treated if I were me?” They still think of themselves as the person that they are. That's not how you do it. You need to think about, what would life be like if you were your client? That's empathy. Not as a financial planner with all this financial planning knowledge and certifications, and efficiency in a successful business. As your clients. Love them.
I hope you found this episode helpful. I enjoy sharing data with you because it can help you improve your business, and speaking of stuff that can improve your business, I want to say it one more time. You do not want to miss the January Inner Circle newsletter issue because it contains a 55-minute bonus video about how to conquer call-reluctance. Newsletter subscribers are going to start the year off right. I'm thrilled to do this for them. Subscribe at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching, and I will catch you next week. [18:13.1]
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