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Most financial advisors think content marketing is only about posting boring blog posts that nobody cares about. But the content you create as a financial advisor will be the difference between having a pipeline full of hungry prospects or your business fizzling out.


Because content marketing goes way past writing blog posts. Everything you create is content, and the more high-quality content you create, the more your business will grow.

But here’s the problem…

Creating contagious content that drives appointments and sales is hard. That’s why I invited Ermos Erotocritou, one of the world’s best financial advisors at creating content for today’s episode.

In this episode, Ermos reveals how to create better content, the biggest mistakes financial advisors make with their content, and why content creation is the single most effective way to grow your business.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The weird way the market tanking can actually help you land 20% more clients than you normally do (1:45)
  • Why creating even the best content falls on deaf ears when you don’t ask yourself these 2 questions before creating it (6:28)
  • The “facts tell, stories sell” trick that turns your content into an unpaid sales intern for your financial advising business (7:20)
  • The “trust before transaction” secret for booking more calls and landing more clients (without talking about finances at all) (13:30)
  • Why it’s almost statistically impossible to make cold calling work (and what to do instead of you want to land more clients) (16:09)
  • The “House Edge Voicemail Method” inspired by casinos that boosts your results from cold calling (18:32)
  • Why studying the stock markets, growing your knowledge, and figuring out one secret financial concept will never grow your business as much as this… (21:37)
  • How switching from an “ROI mindset” to a “COI mindset” unlocks a surge of new, hungry, and qualified clients (24:52)

If you want a free copy of Ermos’s book, Unleash Your Potential: How To Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable, you can find it at https://yourunleashedpotential.com/review. Or if you want a free prospecting audit, connect with Ermos on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ermoserotocritou/

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, what's going on? I’ve got another special treat for you, another guest. I’ve done a lot of guest episodes recently and they have been straight fire, because these people are subject-matter experts and they know what to talk about, and sometimes there are things that I had no clue really about. We talked about Twitter. We talked about Instagram. We talked about YouTube. We talked about marketing to Gen Z. And, today, we're going to talk a little bit about content marketing. [00:53.4]

It's going to be a little bit of a buffet, I imagine, because the man that I have on the show is Ermos Erotocritou and he is an author. He is a coach for financial advisors and I’m sure we're going to talk about coaching and why him and I are on the same page about the business model behind coaching and why it's valuable in certain respects. We're going to talk about mistakes that financial advisors are making. We're going to talk about content marketing, of course, and it is going to be awesome.

Ermos, thank you so much for being here. Please introduce yourself. Tell financial advisors who you are, where you come from, and how you got where you are today.

Ermos: Awesome. Absolute pleasure, James. Thank you for having me on. As you mentioned, my name is Ermos Erotocritou. I’m the proud father of two beautiful daughters. My 19-year-old is attending Bradley University in in Peoria, Illinois, and my soon-to-be-16-year-old is in high school here in Canada. [01:45.2]

Career-wise, I began as a financial advisor in June 2000, just in time to watch that tech bubble burst. Fun times. Now, I say a little bit in jest here, James, because even though the markets were pretty much negative for two-plus years, at the time, it was tough, but I look back now and I’m thinking that was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to focus on financial planning. It forced me to focus on providing real value to my clients, and not depending on rates of return and performance, so that was actually a very good thing.

In 2004, promoted to division director, allowed me to keep working with my clients, but I had the privilege of coaching other advisors, got to increase my sphere of influence to help even more people. Forced to learn time management in a hurry. Believe me, a financial advisor’s day is pretty busy to begin with. Now you have to be responsible for a bunch of other advisors. Again, it was tough, but it was an amazing learning curve. I learned from all of my problems, but I also got to learn from the 25 advisors that I was coaching daily. Their problems became my problems. Having said that, we sat down and we solved these problems together. [02:57.3]

In 2010, promoted to a regional director, dedicated all my time to coaching and mentoring even more advisors. At the time, it was approximately 100. My office managed about 2.1 billion with a “B” AUM. Tons of joint meetings, joint prospecting campaigns with my advisors. If the average advisor has maybe one or two, they call them closing, but I hate that word—it's not closing. It’s converting meetings per week—I was having 10 or more per week, or at least, brainstorming ideas with the other advisors.

Honestly, I feel like I squeezed 200 years of experience into 25 years, working with so many advisors, and along the way, I’ve spent well over $200,000 and countless hours on my personal growth, coaching programs, courses, continuing education books. In my opinion, there's nothing more important than constant, never-ending improvement, and, honestly, James, this is not a nice-to-have in our industry these days. It's a need-to-have.

James: Yeah, absolutely, and I love the fact that you pointed out that you started during a tough time, and a lot of times people say, Oh, I’ll start when things are easy, but what they're really saying, the underlying tone of that is, If I start when things are easy, then I’m going to quit when things get hard. [04:10.5]

No, just start now. Start when stuff is hard. And you did that during the tech bubble and people were worried, and I’m sure that when you were coaching advisors, they were going through tough times as well, and that's a good thing. They might not feel that way, but if you see it with your experience and your knowledge to say, “Hey, look, this is a great thing because it means that you won't quit when you give up.” You mentioned some problems that they were facing. What are some of the biggest problems that you noticed your advisors facing?

Ermos: During the tech bubble bursting, you mean?

James: Sure.

Ermos: That was really tough times?

James: Yeah.

Ermos: I think a lot of it was in their head. It's basically whether it's impostor syndrome or whether they feel bad that maybe their investments aren't doing as well as they had expected. The reality is when down markets happen, it's the absolute best time to be a financial advisor, especially if you're a growing financial advisor, because you have that much more time to be going out and talking to people. [05:03.1]

And let's be honest, James, at the end of the day comfort is the enemy of all progress. If I’m a client, and every single quarter, I get my statement. “Oh, it's a little bit up. Oh, it's a little bit up?” I have zero real intention to talk to another advisor because I’m good, right?

James: Totally.

Ermos: But man, oh, man, I get that. I get that statement and I see red everywhere and everything is down 10%. And, James, you call me out of the blue and now you want to have a conversation. I’m far more open to having that conversation now that the market is down than when the markets are doing well.

James: That's a good point and I think it's something that we're recording this in February. Financial advisors will probably think back to February and think, Hmm, we had a market downturn in October and down in November as well. What did I do during that time? Then we had a little bit of a rebound in January in the first couple days of February. We'll see where we are by the time this episode comes out and how financial advisors deal with it. [05:59.7]

One of the reasons why I wanted to have you on the show is to talk about content marketing, specifically, and you have more content than most people, definitely more than average, and sometimes when financial advisors think of the term “content marketing”, and this has been true for me, when I say that, they think of blog articles. Yet content can be so much more than just blog posts. What are some ways financial advisors can create content?

Ermos: Okay, first thing, I mean, the advisors need to, before even creating any content, is to figure out what the objective is. Is it to educate your existing clients? Is it to attract new clients, increase your brand awareness, generating leads, driving sales? Then once you figure that out, then you have to start defining who your target audience is, like, who are you trying to reach? Consider demographics, interests, pain points, their goals.

I mean, it's common sense, content for a 65-year-old retiree is going to be very different from a 45-year-old accumulator, so you're not going to target the same people with the same content. Even if you have the right message, but you have the wrong audience, it's still not going to be effective, right? [07:08.0]

So, your content needs to be valuable. It needs to be relevant, consistent, and above all, and I think you'd agree with me in this, it has to be a little bit or a lot entertaining. You need to give your audience an excuse to pause and take a look at you.

One of my favorite sayings is facts tell and stories sell. We live in a world in financial advice where we deal with a lot of numbers and percentages, and let's be honest, if you're not a financial advisor or an accountant, chances are your eyes are going to glaze over because it's just boring. Guys, I’m sorry, that's just the truth, right? So, we have to find ways to take those facts and turn them into stories and make them far more memorable. And humor works amazingly well, too, right? If you can teach someone something valuable and get them to smile at the same time, you’ve got yourself a winner. [07:53.5]

I mean, James, you're so right that content is more than just blogs. In addition to blogs—a website, social media, email marketing, sharing links to articles, creating educational videos, tutorials, podcasts, infographics, webinars, publishing articles in magazines, including LinkedIn—there's so many things that can be considered content.

Almost everything can be considered content for that matter, and probably one of the most important things that I can tell your listeners is it's not just good enough to tell. You have to show, right? Show them how you can help them. If you make a claim that you can save taxes, okay, great, thanks, but show them. Right? Retire earlier, show them how you can actually do it. So, produce personalized videos for rapid rapport as well. This is something I can talk about later on in this episode, which has worked extremely well.

But it's important to remember that content marketing is a long-term strategy that also requires consistent effort to be successful. It's important to focus on creating high-quality content, because there's just so much bland garbage out there, and we also need to measure and optimize our results, too. [09:02.5]

Using data to track our content performance and identify areas for improvement is so key, because I see so many advisors out there posting stuff, honestly, every single day and there's zero engagement, and I’m just saying, like, how can you possibly keep doing the same thing over and over again and not trying something different?

James: Try, yeah, experiment. That's the whole point, try to figure this out. I love that you mentioned show, don't tell. One of my favorite sayings, this is not my original thinking and I don't know where I heard this from, so if somebody can find where it came from, please let me know so I can give this person credit—it was, people sometimes doubt what they are told or people rarely believe what they're told, but they never doubt what they conclude, or something like that.

One of the stories that I like to tell is about Ted Turner and he's the billionaire mogul Ted Turner, media mogul, and he was driving a pickup truck one day with a reporter and the reporter was writing about Ted Turner and his life, and just like a little bit of a biography about that period of time in his life. [10:00.8]

Ted pulled the truck over, got out of the truck on the side of the road, went to a piece of trash, picked it up, threw it in the back of the pickup truck, and then got in the truck, essentially. The reporter could have written, “Oh, Ted is an environmentally conscious man or he cares about the environment. He cares. He has a clean environment.” He could have said that, but that would be telling. Instead he told the story of how Ted pulled the truck over and did that, so he painted a portrait of Ted as an environmentally-conscious person. I think it's an example of what you're trying to tell advisors.

Another question I have for you, I have talked with a lot of people about content marketing and they tend to fall into two camps—the first camp, these are people who believe that you should put out just quality content, just make it really good just, and I fall on that side more often than not, but the problem is that sometimes financial visors are perfectionist. The other camp says you should just post whatever. Don't worry about it, post, just ship it. Just get it out there and just post, post, post. It's just a quantity game. Which side do you tend to lean toward, quality or quantity? [11:12.3]

Ermos: I will definitely lean towards quality, but at the same time, I also believe that you have to show our human side as well. Some of the top people that I follow on LinkedIn and other social media, most of their stuff I look at and it makes me think, I get motivated and get excited. But you know what? Every once in a while, they post something. They post a picture of them having dinner with their families or something funny happened with their pet, and it just humanizes them and I love that stuff. I do lean on the side of quality, but at the same time, I do believe that we have to be able to show our personal side as well.

James: Yeah, and that comes up often. People can say, “Oh, I have a birthday. I’m going out to dinner.” What's interesting is, for the financial advisors who don't know, and, Ermos, if you don't know, I’m relatively well-known now for email marketing. I never really designed my business from day one saying, “You know what? I’m just going to do email marketing and financial advisors get to know me for that, and then that's what I help them with and not have a product for this,” or whatever it is. That was never my design. It just kind of fell into my lap, because I just got really good at email marketing. [12:17.0]

What's interesting is that the emails that do very well, both for me and for other businesses and for financial advisors, they tend to be stories. They tend to be entertaining. They're not about what the stock market did. Every time I say this, financial advisors, they don't believe me. They think I’m just making this up, but I’m not, I promise you. It's recipes. It's stories about Grey's Anatomy. It’s stories about TV shows that they're watching, new movies that came out. Because what happens is, let me try to think of a movie, like the new Avatar movie that came out not too long ago, somebody could write an email about how they went with their family to see that new movie, and one of the recipients is probably someone who also saw that movie. So, you have an instant bonding moment. You have an instant piece of rapport that you build outside of all the finance stuff that you know. [13:07.8]

Instead of just the sales-training way to say it, it's like spilling your candy in the lobby, where you just talk about finance and just everything, you just vomit it all over them, if you hold that back and it's not necessarily that you don't want to give that “value,” quote-unquote, you're just bonding with them first. You're providing rapport first and that stuff is highly effective. I appreciate you for bringing that up.

Ermos: James, trust before transaction every single time. Trust before transaction every single time. I can tell you a quick story and then I can give you a pro tip on a little bit of video marketing as well. Talking to an advisor, I believe, it was about a week ago and he was telling me a story where, and this was a fairly warm call, but certainly not warm, and there was a pushback, of course, because they didn't know who this advisor was and he's calling out of the blue.

It just so happened, by coincidence, that it was bath time for their two kids. At the exact same time, his wife was doing bath time with their two kids. So, it went from a situation where it's kind of awkward “This is a really bad time” to them just laughing it up and ended up talking for 15 minutes about their kids. [14:16.8]

Then right from the time they finished bath time on both ends, straight into a Zoom call, at which point, that prospect became a client within a week. Nothing to do with investments. Nothing to do financial planning and everything to do with the commonality of having two kids and it was bath time and they were just laughing about it. So, that's a great story.

You're right, James, I think too many times we make things harder on ourselves as financial advisors. I don't know what it is, we have this inclination to just throw out all these statistics and “I’m a CFP.” No one cares. Really, no one cares. They care when you care, right? We need to start focusing more on building rapport and building relationships, and far less on what we do for a living, which is the financial planning. That comes later. That's very important, but until you can actually get to that point, you don't even have yourself a prospect at that point, right? [15:13.7]

James: Yeah, absolutely, and I think more advisors need to realize that, by the time a prospective client is in front of you, they've already done some betting, they chose you for a reason, and all the other people that they're not talking to, they didn't make it and for whatever reason it is. It could be that they want a certain designation or experience, or location or niche, or whatever. But if they are in front of you, they chose you for a reason. They set an appointment with you for a reason and a lot of it comes down to just not screwing it up. But we can talk about that some other time and that is a rabbit hole, in and of itself.

You mentioned that you have some tips to share about video marketing. What are those tips? I’d love to hear them.

Ermos: Yeah, you know what? I’m going to provide one with a twist and this is a perfect example of collaborating with many advisors on a daily basis, right? I can't even take credit for this, or maybe I can take one-percent credit, but this is just a collaboration of a bunch of advisors getting together and talking about what's working and what's not working. [16:09.1]

This really has to do with video marketing and, as you know, data is king. If you know the patterns to win the game, we just need to stack the odds in our favor. It's really that simple, and probably the best analogy I can give is a casino. Every casino out there has a built-in advantage known as the house edge. Their odds of winning are a fraction better than ours, but that tiny fraction, James, ends up being millions of dollars in profits.

Since we already know that a tiny fraction makes all the difference over time, let's equate that into what we do as financial advisors. Most advisors, their prospecting strategy can be summed up in three words. One, invent. That's a factor.

James: That’s good, yeah.

Ermos: And I’ve even seen statistics, I can't remember where I saw that, but I saw a statistic somewhere just recently that showed that 60% of advisors don't even make the calls that they pay for. They actually pay a lead-gen company and 60% don't even get a call. That, to me, is unbelievable. [17:10.3]

When you look at the actual data, 2% of cold calls result in an appointment, of which only one, as we know, is going to show, so effectively, if you're a financial advisor and you're cold calling—and cold calling could mean a lot of things. It doesn't mean you're calling people out of a phonebook. I’m showing my age now, too—about 100 calls, one appointment, not likely to keep going long term, nor should they. I think it's a ridiculous way to build your business. But if you look at 2007, it took 3.68 call attempts to reach a prospect. Today, it's eight, so it's doubled in, what’s that, five years, six years? On top of that, almost half, 44%, give up after just one call, which I mentioned before, just one and done. It's insane. How can you possibly be successful with those types of odds against you? [17:58.7]

Now how do we shift the odds back to our favor? The fortune is in the follow-up. By making a few more attempts, we boost our conversion rates by 70% according to the data, and the sweet spot, that’s the number of calls that you have to make to actually reach that prospect, is eight to 12. Most people quit well before eight to 12. Many of them a one-and-done, two or three max, and they check out.

If we know that eight to 12 calls is the sweet spot, don't even think about putting them on a drip campaign until after the 10th call. That's not me saying it. That's the data saying it. You are far better off making 10 calls to 10 people than you are making one call to 100 different people. Same 100 calls, same work, far greater results, put the odds in your favor. You can actually get a hold of somebody or you make the call and you don't get a hold of somebody. Most financial advisors won’t even leave a voicemail, and do you want to know why? Because they know the odds of them getting a return call is near zero, so you won’t even bother.

So, here's your house edge tip, right? Instead of leaving a voice message, instead, create an audio file on your phone and then text them that audio file along with a brief note. Something simple. “Didn't catch you on the phone, but wanted to introduce myself.” They're far more likely to listen to that message. [19:16.7]

I’m going to give you an even better one, which we've just started using and it's working extremely well, so this is kind of a house edge on steroids. Exact same message that you would have sent anyways on their voicemail or through that audio file. Now you create a personalized 10-second video. I fully admit right now it's anecdotal, because I’ve only been doing this with a handful of advisors, but the open rates on that video is near 100%.

James: Right, I can imagine. Right, yeah.

Ermos: It is near 100%. So, you went from making and leaving 100 voicemails and maybe getting a 5% open rate to almost a 100% open rate by saying the exact same message, but sending it through a video. But the important thing is this, James. It has to be personalized, so you mentioned the name so they recognize that it's not just a cookie-cutter video. And this is the best part, Loom, BombBomb, Dubb, there are tons of free applications out there that you can actually use to make this happen. [20:16.5]

Where I’m going with this, too, James, if you will, is losers react, winners anticipate. If you can anticipate something, you will be successful. It’s the same in business, the same in content marketing. Figure out what works and what doesn't. Do more of what works and less of what doesn't. It's as simple as that.

But imagine this. You have the greatest, most important exam of your life. This exam is so important that it will change your life forever, depending on how well or how bad you did on this exam. With so much on the line, would you study for it? Most would say yes, right? Again, knowing how vitally important this exam is, are you merely interested in doing well or are you going to be committed to doing well? Because interested and committed are two completely different things. [21:04.1]

Too many advisors are really interested, but not committed, which is why so many struggle to succeed in our industry, and I think the latest numbers show something like 90% of financial advisors fail, which is an extraordinary number. But here's the best part. Now that we already know all the questions on the exam, right? Imagine the same exam, but now we actually know the questions beforehand. Would you at least commit to learning the answers to those questions, knowing how important this exam is?

I know everyone is thinking right now, Duh, of course, I would. Almost like, who wouldn't? It would be crazy not to. Nothing is more important to a financial adviser that is looking to grow them prospecting. Nothing. It's not knowledge. It's not learning that one secret financial concept. It's not studying the stock markets. It's prospecting, end, period. Losers react. Winners anticipate. [21:56.3]

There are only a handful of objections. There are dozens of variations of the same objection, but there are only a handful of real objections that you're ever going to get. The rest are simply resistance statements, right? No money, no time, no interest. That's pretty much it. You might get the occasional “my brother is a financial advisor.” That one's a bit of a sticky one. It's going to be hard to get past that, but that's rare anyway. But everything else is just a variation of one of those three real objections.

One highly-successful advisor, and this is a great story to share, that I work with, he didn't have to deal with any objections. Now, how amazing is that? An advisor that dealt with zero objections? And you're probably thinking, how is that even possible? Because he wasn't interested in dealing with objections. He was interested in being the backup advisor to as many prospects as possible. He would approach people, find out they have an advisor, and if they did, fantastic. He wasn't trying to convince them to do anything. Hand them a business card. Hand the contact information and just said, “I just want to keep in touch.” That was it, right? [22:55.2]

What happened was we know over time that clients leave their advisors, and the single biggest reason why people leave their advisors is lack of communication. It's not market returns. It is lack of communication, and there is no close second. Imagine you, as the backup advisor, are communicating with someone more and better than their current advisor. What's going to happen when that advisor slips up? You're getting the call.

But the key to this is abundance. If you're the backup advisor with 10 prospects, you're going to fail, because if 10% of the people change advisors in a year, one client is not going to cut it. But what if you had 100 prospects or 200 prospects? Now 10% of 200 legit prospects is 20 new clients. You are actually celebrating every time the markets decline because you know a lot of your competitors are hiding under the desk, curled up in the fetal position, sucking their thumbs, right? You are there for their clients when their clients need an advisor the most. And here's the hard truth. Your clients don't need you when the markets are going up. They need you when the markets are going down. And guess when advisors tend to disappear? When the markets go down. So, this is about leadership. [24:06.6]

How does this actually relate back to the whole content-marketing thing? Create your content around common objections you're likely to hear from your prospects anyway. The market is getting killed? Fantastic, three things you can do to minimize losses in a down market. Contact me for more details. On a business, how incorporating can save you taxes and create an estate for your family. Always tell it in a story format. Be human. Be funny. Be engaging.

And here's the secret sauce. People don't buy their way into something. They buy their way out of something. People don't buy based on facts, logic, and reason. If they did, our job as financial advisors would be so easy. We have facts and logic oozing from our pores, as financial advisors. Yet we struggle to get new clients, because people don't buy because they understand you. People buy because you understand them, so the pain of losing is psychologically twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining. So, we need to switch our thinking from ROI to COI, from return on investment to the cost of inaction. [25:04.0]

The old way will be something like this, James. “If you work with me, I can save you $20,000 in taxes.” That's more of an ROI statement. But the new way is something like this. “James, you know what? You've been overpaying your taxes by $20,000, and if you don't make the changes that we discussed, you're going to lose another $20,000 this year. How would you like to proceed?”

James: Yeah, one definitely drives more action than the other.

Ermos: Exactly, and we need to get away from always just talking about “Here's why I’m so wonderful. Here's why I’m so great.” It should be more along the lines of “If you don't do this, this is what you're going to lose,” because that will be of a much higher impact than telling him about how great you are.

James: Yeah. [25:42.8]

Hey, financial advisors. If you'd like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James' monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, “The James Pollard Inner Circle”. When you join today, you'll get more than $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.

James: I couldn't agree more, and I love that you brought up the interested versus committed advisors. That's actually why I started the newsletter, the Inner Circle Newsletter. For advisors who don't know, it's a monthly paper-and-ink newsletter. Essentially, I created that more or less as a litmus test for advisors, because I started getting so many emails from advisors who asked so many questions, and some of them are just super long. Getting five or two, five or 10 days is okay, because you're just being nice and responding to them, and just helping them and just being a good person, but once you get to 50 a day, you can't really handle that anymore. At least, I didn't, and I didn't want to just hand it off to a VA and have her pretend it's me. I didn’t want to do that.

So, I put the litmus test there and I was like, Look, these people get access to me. Nobody else does. Committed equals access. Interested in equals no access. I’ve got tons of other stuff. People are learning from you right now. You’re providing some rock-solid advice for financial advisors, they can get this. But just listening to a podcast, for example, is interest. Doing something about it is commitment. I really want financial advisors to understand those concepts. Thank you for bringing that up, too. [27:14.2]

Ermos: Yeah, you're welcome, and it's interesting, one of the things, I’ve done a lot of presentations in my career, I’ve done a lot of trainings, and so many times people come up to me and say, “Oh, this is great. Thank you for all this information.” Then you track their progress and you see little to none, right?

James: Yeah.

Ermos: What I started saying later on in my career, James, was when someone came up to me and said, “Oh, this was great information. I really appreciate it,” I say, “Don't tell me how great the information was. Tell me what you're going to do differently.”

James: I love that.

Ermos: “What are you going to change going forward, based on the information that you receive today?” Because information is not power. It's the execution of that knowledge, which is the real power, right?

James: Yeah, I wish more people knew that. What are some of the biggest mistakes you see advisors make with content marketing? [28:04.0]

Ermos: Yeah. The easy ones, they're not consistent. If you're going to be posting something, you need to post something regularly, and when I say regularly, I’m not talking every day for a month and then nothing for three. Regularly means two or three times weekly, minimum, right? If you're on LinkedIn, for instance, post a few comments on some of the people that you follow, the ones that you want to follow.

Not knowing that target market is really a big one as well, because then they're not posting relevant information. Focusing too much on products and services, which is something you mentioned earlier, James, again, no one cares. Everyone is talking about this fund or this service, or whatever it is. You have to separate yourself from everybody else.

Also, they don't measure results. I mean, the algorithms are always changing. Do more of what works and less of what doesn't work. It's really that simple, and if you're not tracking your data, how would you even know if it's actually working? In fact, I think I took a tip from you, James, one of your . . . I don't know where I got it, podcast or one of your posts. You mentioned go back to a year ago and find out what your best-performing posts were and just repost it - [29:13.3]

James: Yeah, that’s a lot.

Ermos: - if it’s relevant, and it's just so simple. I’m thinking, Yeah. So, I did that and, sure enough, I got a lot of results from that as well. It's funny, a lot of these big firms post cookie-cutter articles. I’m not going to pick on any of them. I think they're all the same anyway, it doesn't matter who they are. They post these cookie-cutter articles with zero engagement.

I’ve only been on LinkedIn or active on LinkedIn for a few months and I get more engagement and impressions than almost every one of these posts posted by these massive banks and investment firms, so what they're doing is not effective. So, if you're asking me for some tips for them to do, don’t do what they do.

James: Yeah, totally. That was a good point.

Ermos: Do the opposite. Also, be you. Be human, be vulnerable. Share personal stories. If you want to talk about a product or service, you’d better make sure you present it using a real-life scenario where you actually got a result for a client, because that will resonate, right? And this goes back to the whole show, don't tell. [30:07.4]

It's not good enough for you to tell me that you're great at this. Give me an example of where you actually implemented this strategy with a client. You're not using names, of course, but I’m making my point that you have to put it into a story, preferably a real-life story where you actually helped the client.

James: You could even say, “This is a hypothetical story. This is not real. I’m making this up. This is an illustration.” You can get around compliance this way and a lot of advisors like compliance into them, but there is a way to do it and it is effective in content. It's effective in email. It's effective and video, and it is just an absolutely wonderful way to approach it.

One of the content-marketing tips that I picked up on recently that I didn't fully appreciate because it's not really geared toward my personality, I am the person who, if I say I’m going to do it, I do it, period, come hell or high water. It literally doesn't matter, my leg could be broken, it's still going to happen, right? But other people, not so much, and not everybody has that personality. [31:04.6]

One of the tips that I heard was to create a content-marketing runway to help with your consistency. If you plan on posting on LinkedIn, let's just say, five times a week, instead of starting at zero and posting for the first time on Monday, and then Tuesday and Wednesday, give yourself a little bank of 20 posts that you can use and then start posting on top of that.

That way, if you fail to get it done or if it doesn't happen, then you go back to that bank, pull out the post and put it in there. Again, I didn't really appreciate that because I would never use that, but for financial advisors who are listening, I think that's a wonderful tip. Just create that content bank that you can use.

Ermos: I would agree. I really would, but it's not for me and I’ll tell you why. I try to post at least one thing every single day and what I love about the way I do it is I love to be inspired. I just feel it's different when you've already prepackaged everything and you're just kind of doing a dump. [32:04.8]

Now, listen, if you're going on vacation for a week and you just are not going to touch your computer, a hundred percent. Line those suckers up. Let them hit every single day so that you remain consistent. But for myself, I just love acquiring some sort of inspiration on that day, and then, basically, taking it and twisting it in a way into where it makes sense for a financial advisor.

Maybe that's where people kind of get hung up a little bit, too, James. They feel like the only people they can follow are other financial advisors or financial gurus in the industry, and they can only take their content and talk about that, when the reality is there's a lot of really good things out there, a lot of really good content that you can kind of take it and spin it in a way where it actually makes sense and can actually help a financial advisor. I find a lot of those are usually some of the best posts that I post on on LinkedIn. [32:56.5]

James: I think that's actually a mistake that you bring up, financial advisors who just follow other financial advisors. Look, if you're working specifically with doctors, for example, follow people who serve doctors. It doesn't even have to be doctors themselves. Of course, you should be connecting and messaging and following up, and so on and so forth, with people in your niche. That's a given, right? That's table stakes.

But let's say that there's a bestselling author who has sold a book to doctors. That person will probably be worth following and engaging with. Let's say that there's a medical-supply company that is just crushing it and has unique marketing, so on and so forth. People in that company, the CEO, CFO, CTO, whatever, those people are probably worth following more so than just other financial advisors who don't have the same market as you do and who have other worries.

The thing is, if you're following 100 financial advisors and you're copying their strategies, you are going to be the average of those 100, but if you blaze your own path, you give yourself statistically better odds, especially when you're serving the niche and you follow people in that niche. That's a killer piece of advice, too. [34:00.7]

Ermos: Thank you, yeah, and I agree with you. I think we overthink things too much. Get a little bit creative. Think outside the box, and those will be your best posts, a hundred percent.

James: Yeah, I’ve been going through some of your content and I see that you have a book that you use as a lead magnet and the lead magnet is called Unleash Your Potential, and it does seem pretty well-put-together. What was your process for creating? I get asked all the time, “James, what about lead magnets? What about books? What about guides? What about this?” How did you put it together? I want to hear it from you. I want to hear you tell your story.

Ermos: Yeah, you know what? It's an interesting story and I’m going to take a little bit of a step back and talk about the book that I wrote before that one. Show me someone who has done something worthwhile and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity. My first book, Ignite the Hunger in You, that was a collaboration with the great Les Brown himself.

James: Oh, I love Les Brown. I didn't know that. That's awesome.

Ermos: Yeah.

James: Dude, congrats. That's cool.

Ermos: Thank you. I really appreciate that. Yeah, and the story gets better. It became a number-one bestseller, international bestseller on Amazon. I was going through a tough time. I believe in a higher power and that things happen for a reason. In 2020, I hit rock bottom. As much as I had a great career, lots of friends, in 2020, I hit rock bottom. [35:16.3]

Within a span of a few months, I turned age 50. I was 30 pounds overweight, and just started my divorce proceedings. I left my firm after more than 20 years, battling depression daily, and of course, the Covid pandemic was spreading mass fear. And just when you need camaraderie and friendship the most, what happens? Lockdowns, right? So, here I am going through so many things and stuck in our home for weeks. And you know what? Just for fun, James, I found out that I was adopted at age 50 as well. Any one of these can break a person, and for a while, I did feel broken. But one day, I just decided that things aren't happening to me; they are happening for me. And I began to make positive changes in my life. [35:59.7]

So, whatever you look for, you're going to find, and I was looking for hope, something to take away the unbearable pain that I was feeling at the time, and hope came in finding Les. He has always been someone that I’ve looked up to, and now I had the opportunity to work on a boat together with Les Brown? I’m thinking that's a no-brainer, right? So, it was a dream come true.

My other book, which you refer to, I give away for free, by the way. It’s an extension of my passion for writing that came about from writing that first book, and man oh man, I can't tell you how much I had to fight imposter syndrome when I wrote that first book. “You're not an author. You've never written a book before, and who the heck is going to want to read your stuff?” Wow, but it was such an amazing experience, so I wanted to create a book that changed my belief that anything is possible so long as we venture outside our comfort zones, and this is especially true for financial advisors.

So, Unleash Your Potential: How to Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable can be found on my website, and it's my way of giving back to the world. It's my way of expressing my gratitude for everything and everyone in my life. With everything that's happened, I’ve never been happier and more grateful than I am today. [37:06.0]

And my hope is that advisors will read my book and unleash their own potential so that they, too, can help more people, because let's be honest, James, right now people are hurting, there's a lot of stuff that's happening. They need financial advisors more than ever today. Our job is just so vitally important at any time. It's even that much more important during these days.

James: That's awesome, and I think that I believe things happen for a reason, too, and the quote that I’ve been meditating on today, and this is pretty timely, is the biggest problem or one of the biggest problems people have is believing they shouldn't have any. I think it's a mistake to go through life thinking that I deserve to have no problems or I’m entitled to have no problems. No, it's not that you should expect them, but when they occur, just roll with it. Know that you can overcome, that you can become a better person, that you can persevere. And you've done that. So, I think that's pretty timely. That speaks to me personally because I’ve been thinking about this all day. That's really cool. That's a cool story. [38:03.6]

I love Les Brown. I used to listen to Les Brown on YouTube all the time, got all his audiobooks. I went through Audible. He did a lot of stuff with Nightingale Conant. That's really old, but I am a nerd like that, so I listened to a bunch of his stuff, so that’s cool.

You also have a podcast. We're just going down the content marketing gamut. We talked about LinkedIn. We talked about posting. We talked about email a little bit on my end. We talked about blog articles. Now I want to talk about podcasting, and this is going to be a little bit of a meta question because we're talking about podcasting on a podcast. What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned from launching your podcast?

Ermos: Okay, so full disclosure, I’m still kind of new at this and I’m loving it.

James: That's fine.

Ermos: So far what I’ve discovered is it's really about building a community. You get the same listeners that come in every single week. It's got to be educational and entertaining. Always, always, always leave them with something of value, something they can implement immediately. You do that very well, by the way, James, because I’ve listened to a lot of your podcasts and you're always just piling on that value, and I think that's the reason why you've had success and people continue to tune into what you're doing. [39:10.8]

But the podcast is only in its first year, but already the listeners have 5xed since we started and it's growing every single week. Honestly, James, it's just so much fun. I absolutely love it. Same way we're interviewing here, right? I love the engagement, the storytelling, the bonding that I get from my interviews, collaborating with amazing new friends that inspire and motivate me every single day. There's so many, absolutely, there's just so many outstanding advisors out there that I would have never met if it weren't for my podcast and, honestly, I’ve learned so much from them.

You can't stop learning. At the end of the day, I mean, there's so much stuff to learn in our industry and it's always evolving, it's always changing. The podcast has really been a blessing for me in the sense that when I first started, it was more “Hey, how can I share my wisdom?” James, I am telling you, I have learned more from other people than they have ever learned from me from that podcast. [40:03.0]

James: I feel the same way. That's why one of my goals for 2023 was to get more guests, and I’m just sitting here, I’m soaking it up. I’m taking it all in. Also, shout out to Producer Jonathan at the Podcast Factory who recently shared that the Podcast Factory has now passed more than 6 million downloads. Isn't that incredible?

I got to tell you, with my show and stuff like that, it didn't start out that way. I don't remember what my first couple episodes were. I don't even remember, I have to go back and look at the stats. But I can tell you that the curve was like this. And this is with anything in life, this is with content, this is with blogs, this is with anything—doing something well requires doing it many times, perfecting it, getting better.

I’ve actually posted this on Twitter this morning. “If you're thinking about starting a podcast, don't, unless you're willing to commit to at least 100 episodes.” That's my personal recommendation, because having 100 episodes is not 10 times better than having 10 episodes. It's significantly better. [41:06.2]

The minute you get to a point where you have a library where you can just send someone and say, “Look here are 100 episodes. If you can't find something that you like about me or something that you're willing to learn, that's on you. That's your problem, because at 100 episodes, I mean, there's something there for everyone,” and that is just so much more powerful than “Here's my 10th post” or “I’ve only done this five times.” Once you have that library effect, it is incredible, and they're a testament to it. I mean, 6 million downloads, that's pretty cool. I hope you get there, too.

That's awesome stuff and you're learning from your guests, just like I’m learning from you right now. It is a wonderful symbiosis of just intelligent people coming together, sharing things, and you get to market your business along the way. That is really cool.

So, this has been a wonderful episode. Speaking of podcasts, this has been a wonderful podcast episode. I’m glad that you've listened, dear listener. I hope you got a lot out of it. And, Ermos, how can people get in touch with you, if they want to learn more? [42:08.1]

Ermos: Okay, one of the staples that I teach to everyone that comes close to me is to always provide value, give stuff away for free. Actually, I have two free gifts for your listeners today, a free copy of my book, Unleash Your Potential: How to Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable. If you want you can find it at YourUnleashedPotential.com.

That's “your”, Y-O-U-R, “unleashed” with an “-ed”, “potential” [dot] com [slash] “review”. YourUnleashedPotential.com/review. Everything you ever want in life is on the other side of comfort, James. Most need that helpful nudge to get started and that's really the goal of this book, and the best part is it's absolutely free.

The second offer is a free prospecting audit. It’s the exact same website, or if it's easier for you, you can find me on LinkedIn. It's Ermos Erotocritou. E-R-M-O-S E-R-O-T-O-C-R-I-T-O-U. Shockingly, I’m the only person with that name. [43:00.7]

James: I learned that, I did. I learned that before the show.

Ermos: Why prospecting audit? You know what? I’m just telling it the way it is, James, because most advisors suck at prospecting. That's just the truth.

James: Yeah.

Ermos: So, how can that create the biggest impact for your listeners in the shortest amount of time, and that's with the audit. The top four reasons why advisors fail, and, again, you probably know this and I’m preaching to the choir, we fail to follow up. The fortune is in the follow-up. We fail to identify a niche market. The riches are in the niches.

We fail to invest in ourselves. I go blue in the face telling people this all time, James, you do not have a job. You have a business, so you have to treat it as such. You don't earn a salary. You don't earn an income. What we do is we generate revenue and we have business expenses. Every successful company on the planet invests in their business. Why would we be any different? So, the single biggest reason is we fail to prospect. Those who do prospect often do it ineffectively. Poor performers focus on closing. Top performers focus on having great conversations. A lot of times, even the prospecting that we do is just done wrong. [44:07.0]

James, if you mind, I’m just going to share one last story, because I think this is great to hit things home. I signed up for a course through a world-renowned coach, and sitting in that room for the first time surrounded by all these really high-impact people, and this particular coach actually splits, I guess, clients into two groups. The one group, they make over $100,000, but then the other group, they make over $500,000, and the two shall never meet.

I thought that was kind of interesting, so I asked the question, what's the difference between the group that makes 100,000 versus the group that makes 500,000? He just looks at me and he goes, “Well, that’s actually quite simple. The group that’s making $100,000 is far smarter than the group that makes 500,000.”

James: Bingo, yeah. [44:58.0]

Ermos: And, of course, I had to pause there, so I’m thinking, Okay, did I hear that right? So, I asked the question, “Okay, I’m sorry, did you . . . did you mix that up with? Did you mean that the 500,000 were smarter?” He goes, “Nope, not at all. The $100,000 group is far smarter and that's the reason why they don't succeed as much as the 500,000,” and he gave me an example.

He goes, “In the group of 100,000, I give them strategies to succeed. Guess what they do? They second-guess. They poke holes in it. They have to do some research. They've got to put their spin on it. They’ve got to figure something out. It can't be this simple, right?” He goes to me, “Do you know what the $500,000 group says when I tell them these tactics or strategies? They just say, ‘Okay,’ and they just do it?”

James: Yeah, you're speaking, oh, my God, this speaks directly to me. I’ve experienced this so many times, even in my own life. It's one of the reasons why I feel like I’ve been-- I’m not the most successful person ever. Obviously, not, I’m not even close. But I do fairly well for myself and it's because I’m either smart enough or dumb enough to just do stuff. I don't do the research and second-guess, and that speaks directly to me, you have no idea. [46:08.3]

Ermos: Awesome. I love that. I guess my final thoughts for all your listeners is just Just get out of your own way. Check your ego at the door. Be humble. Become a student of the game. Man, I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I still feel that I’m learning every single day, and that's what excites me every day, just learning new things and being on podcasts such as yours. Yeah, the future has never been brighter for our industry, but it's going to be brighter for the people that do the right things.

James: I mean, someone is going to do well. The only question is, will it be you? So, thank you so much for coming on the show. This has been incredible. I hope financial advisors got as much out of it as I did—and speaking of advisors, I will catch you next week. [46:51.5]

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