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Some financial advisors crush it on LinkedIn. They see rabid engagement. They get swarmed with sales calls. And their client roster is filled with high-quality clients.

Then there are other financial advisors who haven’t generated even one call from LinkedIn even though they post all the time.

The difference?

The first group understands the patterns of successful LinkedIn marketing, and leverages these patterns to grow their business. The second group, simply put, doesn’t.

Here's the good news: Understanding, and then applying, the patterns isn’t as hard as it may seem. Especially after listening to this episode with LinkedIn ghostwriter for financial advisors, Anthony Carlton. There’s perhaps nobody on the planet more well-versed in the patterns of successful LinkedIn marketing than Anthony.

And in this episode, he’s sharing all his juiciest secrets, so you can dominate LinkedIn too.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The Life Events “feature” of LinkedIn that makes it the best social media channel for financial advisors (9:21)
  • How to become “famous” to your niche on LinkedIn (without writing a single word of copy) (10:00)
  • The dirty C-word financial advisors hate to hear, but is the single most effective way to grow on LinkedIn (12:03)
  • Why treating your LinkedIn page like a resume almost guarantees you’ll land no clients from it (13:24)
  • The “Direct Response LinkedIn” secret for writing infectious copy that surges you with high-quality sales calls (16:06)
  • The “DQRT” formula that makes whipping up engaging LinkedIn easier than walking around the block (18:24)
  • Why copying and pasting content will bankrupt your business (even if it’s worked for you in the past) (25:23)
  • How talking about the nitty gritty of personal finance on LinkedIn doesn’t result in new clients (and what to post instead) (27:17)
  • The dirt-simple 2-line DM script you can do from your phone while watching TV that floods you with new opportunities (36:14)
  • The “Golden Rule” trick for using LinkedIn to instantly create trust with people who you’ve never even talked to (45:09)

If you want to get in touch with LinkedIn, connect with him on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthonyrcarlton

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: Financial advisors, I've done a bunch of episodes in the past few weeks about topics that I’ve never talked about before on the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. I’ve talked about YouTube. I’ve talked about Twitter. I’ve talked about Instagram. I’ve talked about marketing to Gen Z. These are all topics that are brand new after 200 plus episodes. I never talked about it.

That's great and I love doing that, but I feel like I want to get back in the saddle again and I want to talk about things like LinkedIn marketing, and that's exactly what I’m going to talk about with Anthony Carlton. He does some really cool stuff with financial advisors on LinkedIn and he can talk shop just like I can, and we're going to have a great time talking about LinkedIn and, hopefully, serve you in the best way possible. [01:12.8]

So, Anthony, thank you for being here. Tell everyone how you got to where you are today.
Anthony: Yeah, thanks for having me on, James, and first of all, I’m a fan of your work, and being a young financial advisor, I remember six or seven years ago, figuring out how to do this and how to do this in the world where we spend a lot of time on social media and build our businesses on social media. Your lead magnet, “57 Marketing Tips for Financial Advisors.”

James: Oh, that’s a good one.

Anthony: Yeah, I remember coming across that early in my journey as a financial advisor. So, yeah, excited to be on the podcast, and to give you the 30 seconds on my background, I knew that I wanted to be in finance coming out of college. [02:04.3]

I was very passionate about markets, learning how to invest. I was a Buffett disciple. I probably watched thousands of hours of YouTube and YouTube interviews, just understanding long-term investing and seeing how big of an impact learning that early on can have on someone's life, and that really directed my career path in figuring out what I wanted to do.

At first, out of college, I thought I was going to do the portfolio-management route and I worked with some really smart people, much smarter than I was, in bigger banks and going the portfolio-management route. I was an analyst for a fixed-income portfolio and sat behind a Bloomberg terminal for much of my day and realized maybe this wasn't what I wanted to do. [02:59.0]

I learned a ton from the people around me, but made a pivot early on to the CFP and financial-planner route and, yeah, I landed with a great firm in Chicago. I'm originally from Minneapolis, so that was a big move from me, even though it's still in the Midwest.

I had a chance to learn from advisors a couple years ahead of me and advisors many years ahead of me who were growing their own practices, and really felt lucky that I was thrown to the wolves early on in my advisor career, and I probably had more client-facing experience in my first three years as an advisor than most advisors get maybe in their first decade, because I never went through that. You're an associate, and you're behind the scenes and you're doing the planning work. [03:56.2]

I was client-facing almost from the beginning and remember one of the first conversations I had with a client at this new firm that I joined, Cerity Partners, and this is back in 2016–2017, and I was so nervous to get on the phone with people who were multimillionaires and were decades older than me, and just got in a ton of reps in my first couple of years in having conversations with clients, learning the financial planning process, before, ultimately, deciding I want to build my own practice and I want to be an entrepreneur as a financial advisor.

So, I left that firm after a few years and tried to start my own practice, but I didn't really understand the landscape of social media and how powerful something like LinkedIn could be to grow your brands, to get in front of potential clients. [05:03.3]

I initially failed at my first solo venture, but it led me to so many great opportunities, writing, and writing for myself, writing for other financial advisors, for fintech companies, and, ultimately, pivoted and found Farther, which is the firm, the RAA that I was at, where I got a chance to really grow my own practice and wear all of the hats, business development and finding clients. What do you do when you get new clients and take them through your financial planning process and create, really, your own financial planning process? And then working with those clients and building a relationship with them over time.

So, I'm lucky to have a ton of experiences in this industry, and learn from people who are much smarter than me and I’m really good at what they do. That ultimately led me to where I am today, which is fairly different from a financial-advisor role. I’m running my own business as a ghostwriter and social media strategist. [06:14.3]

I'm mostly focused on LinkedIn and helping other advisors, and people in the wealth and real estate industry, grow their brand on LinkedIn, attract clients organically without ads, and learn how to be creative and have fun in your business.

That's kind of the bird's eye view and there's a lot of things in between that, hopefully, we get to talk about, but, yeah, tons of ups and downs and side to sides in my career journey, and I’m really grateful to be where I am today.

James: You've definitely had a lot of things going on in your career and throughout your life and that's beneficial, and people see the golden thread that weaves through their lives and to see where it did get you to where you are today. I think it's also important to note that you kind of do want to listen to people who have had both ups and downs. The reason is because those downs can help whoever you're talking to to see the downsides or see the blind spots, like, Here are the mistakes I made so you don't make them. [07:16.2]

Would you rather learn from someone who has made the mistakes and can help you avoid them or someone who has never made the mistakes, and then when you make the mistakes, they don't have any experience with it? That sort of thing.

But with LinkedIn, specifically, what are some advantages to LinkedIn for financial advisors? Why should financial advisors care about LinkedIn?

Anthony: Yeah, it really hit me on top of the head when I joined Farther and I was told, “Hey, we're an early stage startup. You're an advisor here. We're building this great tech platform that's going to attract younger investors, Gen-Z and millennial investors,” who I wanted to work with long term and really build a business and relationships working with these younger generation investors. [08:01.3]

When I joined, I looked around at all of the advisors on my team and there were a few options for how they were going about getting new clients, and a lot of those options were paid leads, using something like a smart asset, and that didn't really work for me. I think it works for a lot of people, but it's speed to lead, so you pay for that lead, three different advisors get the lead in their inbox, and if you're not the first person to reach out when that email lands in your inbox, you're never going to talk to that person. It could either be your first and you get on a conversation with them, or you’ve just wasted $500 or $750 per lead or whatever it was.

So, I'm looking around at these different lead gen and different programs that were available for me, and LinkedIn was the one where, like, okay, I already have experience writing online. All of my ideal clients are hanging out on LinkedIn and I’m watching some of these other advisors. There were only a handful of them, but there were a few who I knew were crushing it and were attracting their ideal clients. [09:19.0]

They were growing influential personal brands so that by the time you get on the phone with the prospect, there's already trust built in because of the daily content that you've been showing up with and talking about these things that are very important to the people you want to work with, like life events, getting married, having kids, switching jobs, these reasons that investors find financial advisors because they're going through these different life events. It all clicked for me and watching other advisors do this and seeing the power of LinkedIn. [10:00.0]

Yeah, in 2021, the beginning of the year, I had already been playing around, but not really consistent on LinkedIn and, finally, I just said, “I’m going to double down and I’m going to make this systematic. I’m going to make this a repeatable system where I can show up every single day on LinkedIn and make this my main source of new business and finding new clients.”

As soon as I committed to that and really built a repeatable strategy around content and outreach, I started seeing results and started getting my teammates asking me, other advisors, “What are you doing? How are you doing that? Can you help me do that,” and then, soon, it became advisors on LinkedIn who were just kind of lurking in the background and thinking probably the same thing that I was a few years ago, “LinkedIn is a powerful place, but I’m not sure how to use it.” [10:57.8]

So, they started reaching out to me, and so it was then maybe in the first three months that I realized this was what I needed to focus on. This is the most powerful tool I can focus on and build out as a financial advisor, and it's proven to be true a year and a half of consistent work later.

James: I definitely want to dig into what you were doing, because you mentioned that you have a process and I love that. I love people with systems with processes that are repeatable, because I’m all about asset building and a system is an asset, in and of itself.

But you mentioned that you saw advisors who were having success on LinkedIn, and I’m sure that you notice patterns among the financial advisors who were crushing it on LinkedIn. What did you notice that these advisors were doing differently from everyone else?

Anthony: Yeah. Max Pashman is someone who comes to mind, if he's been on your radar at all. But two years ago, when I was on LinkedIn, just kind of playing around, he was showing up in my feed almost every single day, and so that's a sign that, okay, this person is doing something right, and one of the things that he was doing right was just consistency, which is one of the hardest things and you kind of see it as a meme on LinkedIn, where, hey, be consistent and that's all you have to do and just show up daily. [12:21.0]

It is a huge part of the recipe for success and I noticed that he was consistently producing content that was relevant to his ideal clients and his copywriting was great. The amount of engagement that he was getting, likes, comments, followers. I noticed that right away and I also noticed that with people outside of my industry, anyone who I was seeing on a daily basis and who was getting great engagement on their content, whether in the financial industry or otherwise, I would go and study them and figure out, what are they doing? What are they doing that I can emulate? What are they doing that I’m not doing? [13:08.0]

Yeah, showing up consistently. I mean, the more you write, the better your copywriting is going to be, the better your hooks are going to be, your post formats, and all of that really comes down to attracting the right type of person. I also noticed that they were treating their LinkedIn profile, not like a résumé, but -

James: Oh, that’s huge. That’s huge.

Anthony: - they were treating it more like a landing page, where if they attract their ideal client with content, they want that person to land on their LinkedIn profile and they want to speak directly to their ideal client. So, if I’m a financial advisor working with tech sales professionals and I’m creating content on a daily basis, anyone who lands on my LinkedIn profile, if they're a tech sales professional, I want them to immediately know that I’m a financial advisor who works with them, specifically, here's what I do, here's how I can help you. [14:12.6]

All of that really leads to them connecting with me, following me, engaging with my content, but ultimately, when it comes time for them to work with a financial advisor, on top of mind. So, just showing up on a daily basis makes you top of mind as a financial advisor, so that whenever somebody is ready, whether it's the first post that they see, or a lot of the times it was “Hey, I’ve been following your content for the last three months. Now is timely,” or “Something you said in your post today really made me take action,” and reach out to me and DM me so that we can have that first discovery call. Yeah, a lot of it was just studying people in our industry and who's doing it right. What are they doing that I’m not doing? And trying to emulate them. [15:04.4]

James: That's awesome. I love that and I completely agree that having good copywriting is essential and having a strong hook is essential. I’m sure you have some formulas. I mean, I know how the copywriter brain works, because I come from that world and I write a lot of copy like 2,000-plus words every single day throughout the Advisor Coach. For financial advisors who are wondering about hooks, what is an example of a good hook on LinkedIn? Is there anything you've seen? Anything? Do you have a go-to hook that you use as an example?

Anthony: Yeah, I have quite a few at this point and I’m actually putting together a course, and part of that course is basically just sharing my entire system for LinkedIn content and LinkedIn sales, and I’ve gotten it to a place where I can package it nicely and hand it over to an advisor, and that will immediately improve their LinkedIn-brand sales content. [16:07.0]

But in terms of hooks and how I write my posts, I use data a lot, so first of all, the more you write, if you write 100 LinkedIn posts in a row, you'll be able to go back and look at those LinkedIn posts and say, “Okay, 10 of those posts and wildly better than the other 90. Why is that?” and a lot of the times, it will be those first one or two sentences or one or two lines where you're catching that person who is scrolling through their LinkedIn feed. You're catching them with something, something that's going to make them stop scrolling and click, read more, and hopefully, comment, follow me, continuing to engage with my content. [16:56.7]

But if you're speaking directly to that person, using the word “you”, instead of making your content all about me, me, me, speak directly to your ideal client in your posts. If I’m writing a post about how to build your first financial plan or how to clarify your top three to five financial goals, instead of saying, “This is how I did it,” or “Everyone should build their financial plan like this,” it’s “You should clarify these three to five goals,” and that person reading and is going to say, ‘Okay, he's speaking directly to me. I don't know what these three to five goals are because I can't see the rest of his post.”

So, as soon as they click that “Read more”, first of all, the LinkedIn algorithm likes that and it will show your post to more people, and second of all, that's where people feel like when they write to you and say, “I feel like your post was written just for me.” [17:58.1]

I guess without any of the hook tricks or “These are the 12 best hooks,” one of the best things that you can do is just clarify, who is your ideal reader? And just be intentional before you write each post. What am I trying to help them do? What questions am I answering for them or what problems am I solving?

One of the frameworks that I really like is called PQRT, and so this helps you identify and clarify who your ideal client is.

The P is the top problems. What are the top three problems that your ideal client is constantly talking about and dealing with, and trying to sort out, related to their personal finances?

The Q. What are the top three questions that continue to come up? And advisors can listen for these on their current client calls, and if that has to do with equity compensation, that has to do with business owners, because they work with business owners and deal with all the complexity that business owners have to deal with, whoever it is that they're working with, listen for these top problems, questions, and results that the person is looking for. [19:23.4]

If you can just keep speaking to those things and keep talking about those things in your content on a daily basis, you're going to attract that person. The more you write, the better your copywriting is going to get, and the more you're going to be able to persuade that person that you are the right advisor for them and that they should take action, and they should reach out to and schedule that discovery call to start this partnership.

A lot of it is just understanding who are you writing to, who is your ideal client, and really get to know them. What are the challenges they're dealing with, and how can you solve that for them in your content? [20:00.3]

James: That is some amazing advice, because that is a strategy, not a tactic, and that is one hundred percent in line with the Pollard way of doing things, so I really appreciate that. I’ll let financial advisors in on a little secret here. One of the ways that I get strong hooks is I have data from email marketing, and I understand that not everybody does email marketing. I understand that. And some people are averse to it. That's cool.

I do it just a lot, a lot of email marketing, and I’m not saying that financial advisors have to sit down and write emails every single day—we talk about autoresponder sequences. The idea is that you have a marketing asset that works for you, no matter what. Me and my unique situation, I like writing emails. I like getting the data from it.

If I have 100 emails, I can go back and I can see which subject line got the highest open rate and I will basically take that subject line and make it a hook, and that has worked really well, for me, in some instances. There are some things that work really well on email that don't work as well on LinkedIn, simply because it is a different platform and LinkedIn isn't as intimate as email. But, generally, if my life depended on it and someone asked me, “Will this hook work on LinkedIn?” I'll say yeah, if it got a lot of opens. [21:12.8]

Anthony: Yeah, and that's something to even double click on because the hooks are so important. The hook is, if you have the best posts in the world, and the best advice and content in that post, it doesn't matter. It's not going to get read if you don't have a great hook that's going to stop that person in their tracks and make them want to read it.

Some of the ways that I find hooks, and even recently, because I’m constantly learning and figuring this out, it’s almost exactly what you said. I’m using other data points and, specifically, on Twitter, what I’ve watched other creators in the financial space, but, particularly, bigger creators on LinkedIn who they get to a point where they can repurpose a lot of their content. They can be on multiple platforms. [22:09.6]

I wouldn't recommend that for an advisor, if they're just starting out and kind of starting from zero. I would say, don't overwhelm yourself. Stick to one platform. LinkedIn is a great place. But now that I am on Twitter and trying to grow on Twitter, essentially, from zero, what I’m doing is I use tweets and I have a tiny following, a couple hundred people. If I get a tweet that does 10 times better than my average tweet, I will then take that and say, “Okay, I’m going to turn this two-sentence tweet into a longer LinkedIn post, because there's obviously some interest here,” and a lot of the times that tweet will turn into a hook that then dives into the deeper levels of that tweet. So, now I’m getting to a place where I’m being smarter about content and using different platforms and different pieces of content to kind of test to then create and turn into longer form pieces. [23:12.1]

But the lesson, I guess, is using data, and even if you're looking at other larger creators and looking at their hooks, and if they have a post that gets two times or three times the engagement what their normal posts get, if you're scrolling through their activity feed, the likelihood of that hook that worked for them also working for you is high.

So, you don't have to copy and paste it, but the copywriting part of, if it's a hook for solopreneurs from Justin Welsh, and you can change a few words in that hook to make it a wealth-management or a financial-planning post. I'm constantly looking at other creators and studying their hooks and studying their images and their formats, and basically stealing it, but making it my own, turning it into my own content. So, yeah, you don't have to reinvent the wheel, and using data is a lifesaver. [24:15.3]

James: Absolutely, and I think that's the goal for financial advisors. Definitely, I'm glad that you said don't just copy and paste. That's a terrible idea. I've been the victim of a lot of intellectual property theft, and it sucks, and I can't tell you, the claws come out for that kind of stuff and you don't want to be on that. I’m a relatively nice person, too, but I won't hesitate to put a foot on somebody's neck for intellectual property theft, and I’m relatively nice compared with some other people. I’m scared. Bro, I don’t even want to get caught in that. So, financial advisors, seriously, model the stuff and that will work for you. [24:53.0]

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.

James: What are some mistakes that you've seen financial advisors make when it comes to LinkedIn?

Anthony: So many. The copy and paste one is the biggest one, especially with all of these tools—so you have A.I. content tools now. ChatGPT is one. Taplio is an app that connects to LinkedIn and it will give you, basically, viral content for inspiration—there's a ton of these things out there and those are tools that can really help you level up your game as a content creator. But if you misuse those tools by just copying and pasting, you become a commodity. [26:00.4]

James: Totally.

Anthony: You're not going to build a personal brand. You're not going to stand out. People are not going to remember you for your content or your ideas. You're just going to become another lookalike. So, I think one of the biggest mistakes for financial advisors is thinking that they have to be exactly like somebody who already has 100,000 followers or the biggest financial advisor on LinkedIn.

The copying and pasting, and just thinking that you have to be identical to somebody to have success, is probably one of the biggest mistakes, and I think, ultimately, it leads to burnout, because if you're just copying and pasting something, you're not doing it out of your own curiosity and out of your own interest, which is what helps me sustain, because being a content creator on top of your job as a financial advisor is a lot of work, and if you're doing it in a way that doesn't feel good to you, no doubt, you will burn out and you will give up, and it's not going to be good for your personal brand. [27:06.8]

Yeah, if you're going to start and if you're going to do it, don't cut corners. Model what other people are doing, but make it your own and talk about your own personal stories. Talk about how you've helped clients. Talk about your career journey. There are so many different things that you can talk about that will be fulfilling to you and also resonate with other people.

The other, I guess, mistake that's connected to that is a lot of financial advisors assume that everything they talk about should be about Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, and

James: Oh, yeah. That’s a pet peeve of mine.

Anthony: Yeah. Again, I hear the “I can't post on LinkedIn because my compliance department won't let me,” and maybe that is the case, but a lot of the times, it's just your compliance department won't let you post about what's going on in the S&P 500. [28:03.8]

James: , yep.

Anthony: It's funny because I became known as one of the financial advisors on LinkedIn and the personal finance guy, and this and that. I didn't really talk about personal finance a lot. I talked about personal development, my career journey, entrepreneurship. I talked about a lot of things, some of it personal finance and investing-related. I never really got into the nitty gritty of “Hey, if you have a Roth IRA, this is what you should do, X, Y, and Z.” I kind of saved that stuff for-- If you're going to work with me, I’m already going to be providing you that advice and we're going to have those conversations. I don't think that that stuff is necessarily interesting enough any way to draw the type of clients you want. But a lot of advisors assume that they have to talk about those things. [28:54.8]

There are only a handful of advisors who talk about personal finance in a way that is interesting to me, but, yeah, just it doesn't have to be so rigid, and just don't be boring. I would rather a financial advisor talk about their career journey and kind of leave the X's and O's of personal finance out of the picture than trying to just shove financial advice down people's throats or just reposting a CNBC article and expecting that they're going to get a flood of DMs from people who want to work with them.

So, there is a pretty big misconception around what you can talk about to build a personal brand as a financial advisor, attract clients and have success, and it doesn't just have to be about Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, that sort of thing.

James: I think a lot of people hear the “Give it away. Give your best content away,” and I think that gets misinterpreted a lot. We're not going to talk about that on the show. That's a completely different topic. Are you in Chicago now? [30:06.0]

Anthony: Yes.

James: What is your favorite pizza place in Chicago?

Anthony: My favorite pizza place is not deep dish.

James: Oh, no.

Anthony: Yeah, yeah, but there's some good deep dishes. Pequod's is a good one. But Piece pizza on North Ave. in Wicker Park, favorite pizza place of all time in Chicago.

James: The reason I asked is because let's say people go there and the business owner says, “Wait, no, no, no, you have to watch a video of me making pizza first.” That will be asinine if they say, “No, no, no, no, no. You have to sign up and you have to read this content about the ingredients and you have to read where it comes from. And you have to read about the supply chain of my cheese and you have to read about where I sourced my pepperonis and how they're so great and they're not processed. You have to read all that because that's important. That's part of my business, and that's how I run the business and that's how I’m different,” people are just like, No, give me the freakin’ pizza. I want the pizza. I know that you give or you have great pizza. I have money. Take money, give pizza, we're happy, right? [31:12.6]

You bring up a great point, and I don't want to really go back to the email thing, but you're validating stuff that I’m seeing in business all the time. The most successful emails, for example, literally, nothing about money. And when I say “nothing,” I don't mean a little bit. I don't mean that they just mentioned like, Oh, I help XYZ with this money or this Roth IRA, HAS. I mean, not at all. They're literally talking about TV shows, books, recipes, their children, where they went on vacation.

A super-successful email, I saw this three weeks ago, the guy was talking about going to Disney World with his family and he talked about how he went to all four parks, he went to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and the other one that I don't remember, and it was a long email, but he was able to write it easily because it was recent and he told a story about how he's able to appreciate these moments, and he's glad that he has the money and he's glad that he has the time, and this is what you're planning for, and that's not about investing. [32:12.5]

It's not about Wall Street. It's not about the S&P 500. It’s not about an annuity. It's about the core of what people are planning for, and I think that's the reason why it's so effective. It's because it gets to the meat of why people want to have money, why they're making investments, because people aren't making investments for the investments themselves.

I don't have an emotional attachment to Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Tesla. Not financial advice, obviously. I don't have that emotional connection. But I do have an emotional connection to what the investment going up can do for me, and when people talk about that instead of the money, it tends to do well. I see it all the time, and people will push back on me. I’m glad that you said it, too, with LinkedIn content, because maybe this will get a financial advisor to wake up and realize that I’m not just making this up. [33:00.0]

Anthony: Yeah, and, I mean, we could spend a whole podcast talking about this, because the other thing that came to mind is there are a lot of financial advisors who maybe they're not creating content, but they've been told to go on LinkedIn, and somebody along the lines told them, “All you have to do is send 100 or 200 connection requests with outreach messages. A lot of them will get ignored, but it's a numbers game.” That's what I hear a lot of the time. “It's a numbers game. It's a numbers game.”

Those DMs are the same ones that you and I get every single day, whether it's from a financial advisor or somebody else, where it's a giant wall of text and that giant wall of text says, “I’m a financial advisor and I do comprehensive financial planning and asset management,” and blah, blah, blah. It's never going to get read or responded to because that's not why people make those decisions. [34:01.4]

It is about their kids or their new job that they just got, or that vacation that they want to go on, or they have three or five different competing goals at the same time and they're so overwhelmed, and have no idea how to put this into a strategic plan, and they just want somebody they like, know and trust to guide them through it.

A lot of the times, it's my two-sentence DMs that have nothing to do with finances that get more people on calls and have won more financial-advisor clients than any of the financial advisors who are just blasting off giant walls of text, expecting clients to just fall into their lap. That's a huge thing that I’m seeing where financial advisors are just getting on LinkedIn and that's sort of their first step because they've been told. [34:57.2]

I believe in outreach and having outreach and content paired together in an intentional way, but if it's just a “This is a numbers game, and let's blast out what you do and what your fees are and if you're an AUM versus a one-time planning, like people don't care about that they're not going to respond to you.

Like you said, people want to work with people they like, know and trust, and if you talk about things that resonate with them and that they care about, and that are going to make them think, Wow, Anthony really gets me and I want to work with an advisor like him who understands my goals and understands what I’m going through, that's going to be a lot more powerful than you saying you charge 0.8% instead of 0.1% or 1% on AUM.

James: Yeah, and I definitely want to dig into messaging. We're going to talk a little bit about messaging and how you flow into messaging. I’d like to share with advisors—and this is going to sound kind of silly to some people who really want to overthink this and send that wall of text that Anthony is telling you about, and I get it, too, I get it all the time—“I love the work you're doing at the Advisor Coach. Perhaps we could have a coffee over a Zoom meeting,” so on and so forth. I just get so many. [36:14.6]

The effective messages that I see—now, this is not “the” most effective, but it's also not the worst. It does very well—it’s a two-sentence message that anyone can send no matter where you are, as long as you have your phone. The message is “I loved your post about XYZ.” It has to be a real post. You have to reference it. Then the next sentence is a question about that post. “I loved your post about the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. What is your favorite ride, seriously?” and just do that five times a day, 10 times a day, once a day, I don't care, as long as you do it. Right? That has worked very well for advisors.

Now, they can make it better and that's what I want to talk to you about. What are some patterns you've seen in successful LinkedIn messages? [36:58.6]

Anthony: Yeah. Starting with warm outreach and warm versus cold. Cold is “They don't know me. I’m not on their radar. I came out of nowhere and I’m shooting them a connection request and message.” A lot of people are doing that. I like the warm outreach first and to focus on that, and the difference is warm outreach is somebody who has liked my post or maybe liked my posts a lot of times. They're consistently leaving comments. Maybe they're even DMing me and saying things like, “Hey, I love your content.”

Those are the easiest ones because, again, there's already trust built in. So, if you're not lazy, what you can do is you just go to that person's profile. If they’ve messaged you or if they're liking your posts consistently and viewing your profile–

I live in profile views. Every day before and after I post, I will go into my profile views on my LinkedIn profile, and if you don't have Creator mode on LinkedIn turned on, turn that on because that gives you access to a lot of things, including seeing metrics. [38:14.7]

But what I’ll do is anybody who has landed on my profile in profile views, I’ll go through and I’ll see who am I not connected with who is checking out my profile, and if they're in that ideal-client profile bucket—like for me, it was SaaS sales, VPs and directors. That was my thing as a financial advisor. I loved working with people in tech sales. They have chunky commissions. They all have equity comp. They have big goals—so I would go and look for these tech sales folks who I’m not connected with, who are viewing my profile, liking my posts, commenting on my posts. Short message: “Thanks for liking my post. Thought I’d reach out to say hello. That's one of them and that starts a conversation, and a lot of the times, they will open up and start talking about-- [39:13.6]

The other one that's either as a follow-up or that you can send as a first initial message, my mentor taught me this one, is kind of the same thing like, “Hey, thanks for checking out my profile” or “Thanks for liking my post.” “Curious what you're celebrating right now. What are you celebrating in life right now?” and a lot of people will talk to you about “We just bought our first home” or “I just got a new job” or “I just started a business,” and that is a perfect segue into what you do and how you can help them. I wouldn't drop a giant wall of text saying, “Here's how I can help you,” and here's a desperate-- [39:59.0]

You're not going to make them your client in the DMs. You're not going to convince any millionaire to hand over their life savings in a DM. But you can ask them or tell them, like, Hey, I’d love to learn more about your goals. I work with people like you, or I work with other VPs and directors in tech sales. I would love to chat and learn more about what you have going on.

So, it was really just the first step: Who is a warm lead already? Where do I find these people in my profile and my content? I’m going to reach out to them with a short message and I’m going to establish rapport just in a small, but important way. The amount of discovery calls that then turned into clients that that leads to, just from asking the right questions, blew my mind, because even in our firm, everybody who was trying to do LinkedIn is like, Hey, everybody use this message, this giant, long-winded message about how we're the best financial-planning tech firm and we have all of this stuff. [41:15.3]

As soon as I changed my messaging from that to more human and rapport-building, I was getting discovery calls left and right. Again, by the time you get on that call, that person feels like they know you a little bit because they've been following your content. So, I like the warm outreach, and the messaging is so subtle. It's so subtle, but human. Two to three sentences.

You don't have to try to have a long back-and-forth conversation in the DMs. If you do a good job, they will think that you are what you should be, a busy advisor who has a full calendar, and if they like your stuff and you're chatting back and forth, they're more than likely going to be happy to jump on a discovery call with you, if you're not pushing it as a sales. [42:06.2]

So, I’ll drop my Calendly link, like, Hey, find a time that works for you and we'll get on the phone. That first phone call, we might be getting ahead a little bit on the messaging thing, but even on that first phone call, no selling. Absolutely, it's selling without selling, which is basically just shutting your mouth and asking the right open-ended questions to this person to get to know them, so that by the end of that first call, they have basically told you every single thing that they want in a financial advisor, all of the goals that you can help them with, everything that you need to then say, “Wow, it was great getting to know you. Like I said, I work with other people like you. I would love to continue our conversation,” on that first call. Set up the next call. Don't let them get off the call until you set up that next call. [43:00.2]

James: Sure.

Anthony: Then that second call is where you close. My mentor taught me the two-call close. First one, you're asking the questions getting to know them, and that second one, they've told you what they want and so now you repeat back,”Hey, here's what I heard on our first call about your goals and what's important to you. Let me deliver the solution to you here. Here's my process and how we would work together over the first 30, 60, 90 days.” Once I really dial that in from that first LinkedIn message to discovery call to closing them on the second call, that opened my eyes.

James: Isn't it funny how just being a real person is what actually works in marketing? I love the “What are you celebrating?” I don't know, so here's the thing, I love it intellectually. I don't know if, personally, I would respond to it, but I’ve been wrong on a lot of stuff and I just trust the data, and it's one of those things where I feel like that would work very well data-wise and people-- [43:59.3]

But here's the thing I want financial advisors to understand. There is no “lose” when you have conversations with prospective clients on LinkedIn. If they don't become clients, guess what? You still haven't lost anything. You have no net, net negative. People say, “Oh? What about my time?” You’ve got the data. You understood or you now understand what is important to your target market.

If you have 100 people when you ask, “What are you celebrating?” and you start to see a trend that a lot of these people are saying the same things. “Oh, I just got hired after being laid off.” I mean, right now we're recording this in January. There's been a ton of tech layoffs, at Google, Meta, and so on and so forth, and people can say, “Oh, I’m celebrating that I got a new job after getting laid off.” You now have a talking point that you can use for LinkedIn content, for a YouTube channel, if you have one, for your email. You have data and that's precious.

So, I love that question. I love your process and I love the two-call close. It's something I like to see advisors used, too. I just want advisors to take away, just be a real person and have a real conversation. If you can internalize that there’s another person just like you on the other side of that screen, I think things shift. Just treat people like you'd like to be treated, period. [45:17.7]

Anthony: Yeah, and those are the people that you want to work with. Me doing that and attracting the right people, I had zero problems with any of my clients. We were all like-minded. Again, there was this trust factor built in, where there was a lot of volatility in the market over the last year and a half, and so to already have that trust built into that relationship and for that person to feel like they get it, they get what the plan is, they get investments, they get everything that you're doing. [45:54.5]

It makes it so much easier than if you do win one of these clients randomly from a cold message and it's not because they like you, and it's because maybe you're the cheapest financial advisor, those usually turn into the clients who are calling you the most and are threatening to leave you, and are kind of the messiest to deal with. Yeah, I think, overall, just starting from that place helped me so much more.

Then on the “What are you celebrating?” point, another a little subtle messaging where you could replace this with “What are you celebrating?” if somebody messages you or if somebody is a warm lead, go to their profile and take the time to find something. Go into their “About” section. Go into their “Experience” section, look at their profile, and you will be able to find something relatable that you can speak to whether it's, Hey, I just-- [46:58.4]

One of my clients, I have a message from them and it was probably my favorite client to work with, and our messaging started out as, he was like, “Hey, I love your content. I just gave you a follow,” and I went over to his profile and noticed that he had been promoted three times in the last year and a half. I mentioned that in my reply to him. I was like, “Wow, it looks like things are going great at your company. You've been promoted three times in the last year. Congrats to you.”

The next message from that person was “Thank you, yeah, things are going great. I actually just moved into my newest role, and my wife and I are talking about working with a financial planner for the first time. I would love to learn more about your services.” A lot of the times it was, like you said, you're just being human and getting to know this person, and you don't even have to pitch, and because on your LinkedIn profile it says, “I’m a financial advisor for people for you that works with--” A lot of the times they will follow up and say, like, Hey, I’m curious about what you're doing, and, boom, that leads to a discovery call and, hopefully, the rest is history with your sales process. [48:08.7]

James: Absolutely, and this has been an incredible conversation. I hope financial advisors get a lot out of it. LinkedIn is something I could talk about this stuff for days, because it really is one of the most effective marketing channels that financial advisors can use. Even if you don't have an occupation-based niche, that's great, but if you do have an occupation-based niche, it is just phenomenal.

Anthony, thank you so much for being here. How can people get in touch with you, if they want to learn more about you and what you do?

Anthony: Yeah, thank you for having me on the show, James. And if you want to get in touch with me, reach out to me on LinkedIn. Connect with me on LinkedIn. If you look up “Anthony Carlton CFP,” I should show up. Just recently launched my ghost-writing and social media agency where I’m working with financial advisors, founders in the wealth and real estate space, to help them build their brands on LinkedIn and attract more of their ideal clients. [49:05.2]

It's been a pleasure and I could talk about this stuff for days and days, too, so thank you so much for having me on.

James: Awesome. Financial advisors, you heard the man. You think about LinkedIn as a marketing strategy. If you're hearing my voice and you're not using it, seriously, you need to get on the ball, and in addition to all the other things that we talked about in the podcast. Of course, this is like a buffet. You can pick and choose. With that said, I will catch you next week. [49:33.1]

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