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Most financial advisors can turn their clients hundreds of thousands of dollars into multiple millions of dollars, yet they can’t do the same for themselves.


Well, first and foremost, it comes down to an inability to listen and take action. That’s why you’re stuck—you overthink and under-act.

In this episode, you’ll discover the 7 most deadly (and common) patterns financial advisors fall into which keeps them stuck, broke, and underachieving.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The single most prominent characteristic of financial advisors who underachieve (4:25)
  • Why buying more marketing courses and trainings will bankrupt your business (even if they offer money-making advice) (7:23)
  • The insidious mindset plague most financial advisors have which dooms their business to bankruptcy (11:11)
  • How to get as much as a 194% return on investment (or more) every time you invest in this “hidden” investment (12:33)

Need help getting more clients as a financial advisor? I created a free, 47-minute video outlining the steps to my “CLIENT Method,” which helps financial advisors land more clients. Watch the video before I take it down here: https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/theclientmethod.html

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.

Want to transform your website into a client-getting machine? Go to https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/website to get The Client-Getting Website Guide.

Want a masterclass training in running effective Facebook Ads? Head to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/ads-training.

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: This week's episode is going to be extremely valuable for those of you who listen to what I'm saying. Unfortunately, one of the things that keeps financial advisors stuck is an inability to listen. That means the funny thing is that the advisors who are going to listen are the ones who are more likely to succeed anyway. In that sense, all this podcast episode is going to do is pour gasoline on their fires, and that's fine with me. [00:56.3]

This episode is scheduled to release on January 30, 2023. The deadline to lock in your spot for the February Inner Circle Newsletter issue is January 31, at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, so if you're listening before the deadline, you can lock in your spot at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching. Otherwise, I'm sorry, but you have missed out.

I bring that up also because this episode is inspired by all the Inner Circle members I’ve had over the years. I am now in the sixth year of publishing that newsletter. It's really crazy to think about. I started in 2018, so you have 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and now 2023. Those are six different years, and I’ve been absolutely blessed to grow that newsletter and help a lot of advisors along the way.

I talk a lot about having qualification mechanisms within your businesses, and these qualification mechanisms can be filters, which separate people who will waste your time from everyone else. These are things like email lists and calendars, and things like that. They can also be litmus tests, which help you gauge if people will be pains to work with. They can be any number of things. [02:08.3]

At the Advisor Coach, my newsletter has been the absolute greatest qualification mechanism I’ve ever used. It has saved me so much time, so many headaches, and so much hassle. It has been a beautiful tool, because if financial advisors aren't willing to invest $99 per month into themselves, which works out to be less than $3.26 cents per day, someone on the corner rattling a cup would lose change, asking people, “Hey, do you have any change? Can you give me your quarters? Can you give me your nickels?” they can get more than that, but there are people who don't want to invest that into themselves. So, if someone isn't willing to do that, the chances of me actually being able to help those people, it's very low because they have the wrong sort of thinking. [02:52.6]

People always say that you should do-- the thing that you love so much, you would do it for free. I love helping financial advisors. I really do, and I would do it for free because I love it so much. The problem is that I do not love helping financial advisors who want to whine, complain, and make excuses along the way. Charging the $99 per month allows me to accomplish my goal of doing what I love to do while keeping headaches to a minimum, because I do not love having pains in the butt. Also, there have been many studies which confirm that paying for something increases the likelihood that you will actually use it, so paying is a benefit to the advisor anyway, but that requires a big brain to understand.

Even though the newsletter is the best qualification mechanism I’ve ever implemented, there are still some bad apples that squeak through. It happens in any business. When you go from helping a handful of people to helping thousands of people and getting in front of thousands of people with ads and social media and email marketing, you're going to get some bad apples and, unfortunately, I have had some bad apples, and since I’ve been writing the newsletter for several years, I’ve noticed some patterns among the bad apples that I'd like to share with you. [04:01.4]

I'm sure that this podcast episode will ruffle some feathers, but that's okay. I would rather give you the real information based on what I’ve observed. I'm not here to win a popularity contest. I'm not here to help people justify their failures. I'm not here to let them know, “Oh, it's okay that you’ve failed. It's okay that you're stagnant. It's all right. It's not your fault.” I'm not going to do that. I'm going to give you the real information, so here we go.

Perhaps, the most prominent pattern I’ve noticed is that financial advisors who stay stagnant do not ask questions. This is so huge. Newsletter subscribers get direct email access to me for questions, and I generally respond within a day or two, typically within 24 hours, but I don't like to really promise that and say, “Hey, you'll get a response within 24 hours,” because sometimes it doesn't happen. These people can ask me anything they want about marketing and business-building, and I will help them, but get this. Nearly 100% of newsletter cancellations have never asked a single question. That is such a … it's mind-boggling that the stat is so clear. [05:08.3]

Isn't that amazing? They don't ask for help. They don't even bother, and it's heartbreaking and it's also confusing, because I'd like to think these people join for a reason. Maybe they have a business that they're interested in growing and maybe they have problems they'd like to solve, but they don't use one of the biggest perks of the newsletter to help them solve the problems.

I've had subscribers tell me the only reason they subscribed was to have direct email access. Now, of course, they can't abuse the privilege, but they use it. They ask one question a month, maybe one question every two months, and it's more than enough to pay for their subscriptions forever. If you're having trouble in anything, I don't care what it is, reach out and get help. We live in a world where resources are abundant. Access is abundant. You can find the help you need.

It doesn't even have to be me. I want you to invest in other programs and newsletters. I want you to circulate your money in multiple places, because money has to flow to benefit you and society. If you don't understand that, then you don't understand how money works. [06:10.5]

These advisors who don't ask questions remind me of kids in school who don't understand a lesson being taught, and they sit there and they quietly suffer. All they have to do is raise their hands and ask a question, say, “Hey, I don't understand this. Can you explain? You lost me at this. Can you help? Can you help? I need help. Give me the help I need so I can understand and move forward.” This is such a problem. That's literally it, though. Just ask a darn question. It's a low barrier, but it stops them.

Oh, and by the way, the reason I know these advisors stay stuck despite never asking any questions is because they'll share where they are and what they do in their initial email, so they'll be all excited after subscribing and they'll send the first email thanking me for the opportunity and saying, “Oh, I'm so excited to get the first newsletter. Here’s what I am. I'm an advisor at this company doing this, this, and this. I make this much money. I have this many clients.” [07:03.1]

They will say all of those things, and then when they cancel, they'll send a long whiny email explaining all the excuses they have and basically recapping where they are, saying like, Oh, I'm still doing this. I'm struggling with this. Here's my excuse, excuse, excuse. At any point, they could have asked a question to help them improve, but they don't do it.

The second pattern I’ve noticed is they do not implement. I'll give you a perfect example. I talk about LinkedIn marketing relatively frequently in the newsletter. Maybe once every three or four issues, I will have a LinkedIn-related strategy in there. When people cancel, I’ll sometimes check out their LinkedIn profiles. Again, in nearly 100% of cases, I see that they do not use the strategies. They do not implement. It's right there in black and white.

I see the same thing with their websites. I'll include information about website marketing in the newsletter. Then when I look at their websites, what do I see? Plain Jane, vanilla, boring websites that don't follow any of the principles I teach, zero, nada, none. They literally do not do anything. They don't even kinda sorta implement. They don't get Pollard-ish. They don't implement at all. [08:14.3]

I'm not talking about implementing stuff that takes hours either. This is not hard stuff. How long does it take to change your LinkedIn headline? Hmm, 10 seconds? How long does it take to change your website header? Maybe a minute, and a little faster if you're already logged in. How long does it take to send a message to a prospective client? Maybe two minutes. That's a long time, isn't it? Two minutes, wow. This is not difficult, time-consuming stuff, but they don't do it, and you'll never get results if you don't do stuff.

I've never understood this mentality because I personally implement something from everything I buy, for better or worse. I train myself to be an implementer. I will never get a newsletter or a program, or a book or a training, or a course or hire someone, and not do something, because it's important to me psychologically to believe that I am an implementer, and if I buy something and don't do something with it, then I'm telling myself deep down, “Hey, you didn't implement. Are you not an implementer?” I need to be rock solid in my belief that I am an implementer, so that is why I do it. [09:19.1]

The opposite is true for successful financial advisors, meaning, they actually do implement. They implement quickly. They implement frequently. And I'm amazed at the disparity between successful advisors and unsuccessful advisors when it comes to just doing stuff. It is truly astounding. I only get to see it because I’ve helped thousands of advisors and I’ve seen these patterns over years.

Unless you take a step back and interact with this many advisors, you're not going to see it. Sure, you might intellectually understand that implementation is important, but you won't appreciate the vast difference between those who don't and those who do. It's incredible.

The sad thing about a newsletter model is that I can't make you do anything. It would be wonderful if I could come into your business and make you do the stuff. I could pick up your arms like a little puppet. I could direct your hands to do the exact things I want you to do. That would be great, but I can't do that. [10:12.8]

That actually brings me to the next thing I’ve noticed. The third thing I’ve noticed is that these advisors think they can just outsource everything, specifically, their marketing. They have this pipedream that all they need to do is hire the right person to, quote-unquote, “do marketing” for them. This, and I hate to say it like this, I can't really think of any other way to say it right now and maybe that's a reflection of me, but it's dumb. It's moronic. It's asinine.

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.

Do you think Bill Gates started Microsoft, and then, on Day 2, tried to find someone to do marketing for him? No, of course not, and I'm not saying that outsourcing is 100% good or 100% bad. It's neither, but it's silly to think that you can find some unicorn in the wild that will not only create the systems for you, but scale them as well. It's goofy. It is a pipedream. You are smoking the funny stuff if you believe this.

If you get nothing else from this podcast episode, please get this. If building a successful business was as easy as hiring someone to do everything for you, then people would just do that. Please understand what I'm saying to you because it can save your business. I've seen so many advisors fall into this trap. They say stupid stuff like, “Oh, I need to allocate funds to hiring marketing help,” and they don't have any systems. They don't have a solid foundation. If a marketing company was so great at marketing, then that company would literally be doing marketing for its own products and services. Hmm, does that sound familiar? Ding, ding, ding. [12:02.8]

What do I use to market Appointments on Autopilot, my email marketing system? Email marketing, hmm. Am I active on LinkedIn and I'm telling financial advisors how to get clients with LinkedIn? Hmm. Do I use direct mail or have I used direct mail in the past to build a consulting practice and sell professional services, and I’ve invested in multiple businesses that I’ve grown through direct mail? Hmm, yes. And do I tell financial advisors how to get clients with direct mail? Yes, because I'm freaking doing it. I stay in my marketing lane and I share marketing information with financial advisors who want to become better marketers.
Just understand that. If marketing companies were so great, then they would literally be doing marketing for their businesses—and some companies do. I'm not saying that they all don't. Some do. Some absolutely do. There are wonderful companies out there that market their services and do a wonderful job, but even those amazing companies can't multiply zeros. They can't take your non-existent marketing campaigns, your non-existent niche, your non-existent systems, and make them print money. It cannot be done. [13:04.1]

Obviously, don't get me wrong, hiring people should be done at some point. Of course, Bill Gates eventually hired marketing people. Yeah, he did, but he did it after having a proven model with the systems already in place. You must have something for a marketing person or a company to work with, and if you don't have anything because you don't implement, and those things go hand in hand, you will remain stagnant.

The fourth thing is that they're way too tactical, and tactics matter, I get that. How you do something matters. If you and I both work on a direct-mail strategy and my tactics, meaning, the little things that I'm doing within the direct-mail piece itself are better than yours, then I'm going to smoke you. But the problem is I’ve seen too many advisors fixate on tactics without having any strategies to back them up. It's kind of like saying, “Oh, which headline should I use in my direct-mail piece?” Do you have a direct-mail piece? “Oh, no, but I'm just wondering about which headline I should use when I eventually do it someday.” Hmm, don't do that. [14:08.1]

The financial advisors who stay stuck, they're quick to ask, “How can I dig faster?” The financial advisors who grow ask, “Am I digging in the right place?” That's the difference between strategy and tactics. It doesn't matter how fast you dig, if you're digging in the wrong place.

The fifth thing is being unable to read 15 to 20 pages per month. Now, okay, this is newsletter-specific. The other seven things aren't necessarily newsletter-specific, but this one is going to be. I always laugh, I'm even laughing now, when someone cancels the newsletter and says something like, “Oh, they're piling up on my desk,” or “I haven't had time to read them,” that's a discipline problem. I bet they have time for Netflix. I bet they have time for fantasy football.

Even if they don't have time, I'm giving these people the benefit of the doubt, if they don't have time, they could still take a speed-reading course to learn how to read faster and that would free up some time. But you know what? That would require taking something called initiative. Can you say it with me? Initiative. [15:10.8]

Let me tell you something, and this is going to sound super arrogant. I don't mean it this way, I promise you. I'm only telling you this to give you an example. I read more than 100 books in 2022. Plus, audiobooks. Plus, all the newsletters I'm subscribed to. Plus, articles online. I don't really want to count those. Plus, a study Bible that's nearly 3,000 pages long. I went through the entire study Bible. I did it from August 16 to December 1. I made time to do it. I didn't whine and complain. Even if you did 1% of what I personally did in 2022, you'd be able to read the newsletters three or four times.

Can you imagine if people apply that mentality to other things in life? They have children who are begging to spend time with them, but they say, “Gosh, my child's requests have been piling up. I don't want to deal with them anymore, so I'm going to send my child to foster care,” or they're married and they're not fulfilling their spouse's needs and they think, Oh, gee, I know my wife has been dropping hens for several months, but I'm just too busy. I guess I’ll just get a divorce. You might laugh and think that these are extreme examples, but I guarantee you, these people exist. They walk among us. [16:22.8]

The sixth thing is that they make excuses, and Napoleon Hill has a list of excuses in Think and Grow Rich. If you've never read Think and Grow Rich, you need to read it. It's an incredible book. These are excuses people make for not getting what they want out of life.

“Oh, if I only had good health.”

“If I had enough pull.”

“If I dare to assert myself.”

“If I only knew how.”

“If I didn't have a past.”

“If I could meet the right people.”

And more. Excuses don't work. They've never helped me. I've tried. I've tested excuses to see if they work, and they don't. I'm not going to spend too much time on this because I'm going to do an entire podcast episode about this in the future. [16:59.4]

There are lots of people who want people to feel sorry for them, so they virtue signal about how hard things are so they can have a pity party. They would rather have a pity party than results. Which one would you rather have? I would rather have the results, and if you think like me and you would rather have good health, happiness, money in the bank, a thriving business, then, hey, you and I are cut from the same cloth.

The seventh and final thing is that they do not think like investors. This is also a massive prevalent pattern. I think that being able to do basic math is such an advantage. I'm constantly amazed at how many fully-grown adults cannot do basic math.

Let's say you subscribe to the newsletter for a year. At $99 per month, that works out to be $1,188 per year. Now, let's say you read only one issue and you throw all of the others away. You throw them in the trash. You burn them. You only have one, okay? But you still get one idea, just one, that allows you to get one client, just one, and you make $3,500 from that client. What is your rate of return? [18:11.8]

Let's see. I will literally help you do the math. $3,500, which is what you made, minus $1,188, which is the cost of the newsletter for a year, is $2,312 you would not have had otherwise. That's also a 194% return on investment. Where else are you going to get that? And that's assuming you get one client per year, just one. You have 365 days to implement, but guess what? The people don't do that. To ask questions, but guess what? The people don't do that. You have an entire year and you only get one client, one that you wouldn't have had otherwise.

I'm going to level with you. I spent over $100,000 in 2022 on personal development courses, newsletters, trainings, and more. Basically, 100 grand invested in myself. Let's say I break even. Did I make a good investment? Compared to what? Even if I only broke even, I did better than the stock market. I did better than the bond market. [19:15.0]

But here's what's cool. Once I have the knowledge, I can use it again and again, and again. I may not use the knowledge for 10 years. Heck, I may not use it for 20 years or 30 years, but it's mine forever, and I can use it to create returns when opportunities present themselves. I don't view these things as expenses. I view them as investments in myself and my business. I love the stock market. Don't get me wrong, I love the S&P 500. I love broad-based market index funds. I am an investor in these things. I invest in real estate. I invest in the stock market. I invest in a lot of places. But far too many of you will gladly accept an 8–10% rate of return in the stock market, but not even try to get a better return by investing in yourself. [19:57.6]

Again, this does not have to be just with the newsletter. I don't want this to be some newsletter pitch. Let's say you go out and buy some other marketing course from someone else for $3,000. What is a 10% return on $3,000 in the stock market? Anywhere, really? What is a 10% return? $3,300. Can you make $3,300 by getting a single client? Your threshold for success is so low that it should be a no-brainer to invest in yourself.
If you can get this, too, I know I said earlier, if you only get one thing from this episode, get this, but if you only get two things from this episode, get this, too. As a financial advisor, financial planner, your threshold for success in marketing spending and investing in yourself is so unbelievably low, other businesses would be just so jealous, like clothing businesses, e-com businesses. They would slap you silly if they saw that you weren't investing the way that they wished they could invest. So, take the opportunity. Lots of people don't think this way, but I’ll tell you what, the ones who do are absolutely crushing it, and I love every single one of them. [21:08.5]

I hope this episode helps you in some way. I hope it opens your eyes to the patterns and advisors who stay stuck, because I genuinely want you to succeed, and I will catch you next week.

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