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I was crunching numbers for my Inner Circle Newsletter for financial advisors and realized something powerful:

Only 0.4% of financial advisors cancel their subscription every month. Despite charging $99 per month, that’s lower than the churn rate of most software companies and streaming services.

And you know what?

There are 5 specific secrets that help me keep clients longer—and they can help you keep clients longer too (even if you charge more than $99).

In this episode, I reveal the 5 most impactful secrets for keeping clients longer, reducing your churn rate, and skyrocketing your bottom line.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • How to get a churn rate of only 0.4% for your financial services (2:55)
  • Why giving away free bonuses for your services actually makes people more likely to stick with you for years (6:27)
  • The “ROI Spell Out” secret for making your clients know instantly that hiring you will grow their wealth (even if they’ve worked with subpar financial advisors in the past) (9:46)
  • How to increase your bottom line by 3x in the next year by simply writing out this on a piece of paper (12:38)
  • Why the best way to increase your bottom line, reduce your churn rate, and grow your clients’ wealth is by telling them no more often (16:29)
  • The weird way making your clients laugh prevents them from working with another financial advisor (even if they can get better results) (20:47)

Want access to my 57 favorite financial advisor marketing ideas? Download the free PDF at https://theadvisorcoach.com/57mt

Want to become an expert at niche marketing and put growing your business on “easy mode?” Then join my niche marketing program here: https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/niche.html

Need help getting more clients as a financial advisor? I created a free, 53-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: I am really excited to share this information with you this week. I rarely talk about The Advisor Coach as a business because I tend to be 100% focused on you and helping you. I talk about Financial Advisor Marketing. I talk about how financial advisors can become better business owners, and I talk about how advisors can improve their lives in general. But today, I'd like to talk about something different, me. Me-me-me-me-me-me. I'd like to talk about something I'm proud of, really proud of actually, and I will try my best to tie it back into Financial Advisor Marketing. I hope you'll indulge me, at least for this week. [01:07.2]

I was taking a look at my Stripe account, which is my main payment processor. When people purchase something through the Advisor Coach and they pay with a credit or debit card, or Apple Pay, Stripe processes that transaction. Stripe has a cool little dashboard online. It gives you a bunch of metrics, like revenue, new customers sales, that kind of thing, and since I have a subscription product, the newsletter—The James Pollard Inner Circle Newsletter, which you can find over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching—it gave me some details about monthly churn.

In case you don't know what the heck churn is, it's the percentage of subscribers who do not renew their subscriptions in any given month. For example, if you have 100 subscribers at the beginning of the month and you have 90 at the end of the month or the beginning of your next subscription period, your churn is 10%, because you lost 10% of your renewals, so your customers or your subscribers or whatever. That is what churn is. [02:04.5]

To put this in perspective, the average churn rate for most software companies is somewhere between three and 8%. If they begin the month with 100 customers, at the end of the month, they will have 97 to 92. This is low, and it makes sense because people typically get software they need. They don't just get software willy-nilly. Plus, software is designed to be sticky. It's designed to have a high switching cost.

If you're using QuickBooks Online, for example, you're probably not going to cancel because you have all your accounts linked and you don't want to redo your bookkeeping systems. They’ve got you, right? The same is true for software like email marketing, because email marketing software companies have all your data and all your information, and they've got the system set up and you're split testing. Therefore, it makes sense that software has a low churn of 3–8% per month. [02:55.0]

I did some digging into my churn rate on Stripe and the churn rate for the James Pollard Inner Circle Newsletter is . . . I’ll let you think about it. What do you think it is? Hmm, if companies that are really sticky and have a high switching cost have a churn rate of 3–8%, what do you think my churn rate is? How many financial advisors do you think cancel the newsletter in any given month? Are you ready? You want to hear what it is? My churn rate is 0.4%. Not 4%. 0.4%, aka four-tenths of 1%.
What does that mean? That means for every person who cancels the newsletter subscription in any given month, 249 stay. That's insane. Let me tell you again. 0.4%. If one person cancels, 249 stay. That's incredible. But it gets better because that also includes people who had failed billing attempts. [03:59.0]

For example, when people's credit cards expire, I’ll automatically try to rebill them a few times, and if the payment doesn't go through, then they get automatically canceled, so they are included in the churn rate. My real churn rate is actually even lower than 0.4% but I haven't done the math on that. I'm merely going with what I see on Stripe. 0.4%, I know it doesn't sound like it, but I'm thrilled. I'm really happy.

Let's compare my churn rate with the churn rates from other businesses, like major streaming services. I began googling Netflix churn rate, Disney Plus churn rate, Audible churn rate and terms like that to see what they are, and of course, they vary from month to month and they vary when services increase prices, for example—because let's say that Netflix charges more. Some people are going to cancel merely because of that price increase, and the churn rate will be artificially high for that month. [04:49.0]

I ended up finding this cool graph online with all the major streaming services and their respective churn rates. Here they are. Netflix is 2.5%. Netflix spends millions and millions of dollars per year to produce churn. They are also regarded as the best in the industry at churn reduction, and with all their money and effort, they can only get their churn down to 2.5%. That means people are 6.25 times more likely to cancel their Netflix subscriptions than financial advisors are to cancel their Inner Circle Newsletter subscriptions. That's nutty. 625% more likely to cancel Netflix? Okay.

What about Disney? Disney Plus has a 4.3% churn rate. Hulu has a 5.2% churn rate. HBO Max, now Max, has a 6.7% churn rate. Peacock at 9.5%. Apple TV has a churn rate of 15.6%. Mine is 0.4%. That's legitimately nuts, especially when you consider that the newsletter is $99 per month, not $10–20 per month like most streaming services. [05:58.8]

I’ve got to tell you, and thank you for indulging me here if you're still listening, it feels so good having your hard work validated like this. I look forward to serving financial advisors to the best of my ability for years to come. But let's get into the meat, the structure, the content of this podcast. What's my secret for keeping the subscribers? There are several actually. I'm going to give you a few here and I'm going to tie them back into Financial Advisor Marketing so you can get some, quote-unquote, “value” from this episode.

Secret number one is that I give away several bonuses as soon as advisors join. Right now, at the time of this recording, subscribers get nine bonuses. They are:

An MP3 Download called “Five Keys to Successful Financial Advisors.”

A behind-the-scenes private email critique.

“How Financial Advisors Can Get Clients With Direct Mail.” That's an MP3 audio download with someone who has mailed more than 300 million direct mail pieces, so he kinda sorta knows what he's doing.
I have an interview with one of the greatest email marketing experts in the entire world. [06:57.3]

I have an interview with one of the greatest customer service and client experience experts in the entire world. His name is Vance Morris. He's worked with Disney, NASA, Tyson Foods, and more. He's also worked with the Executive Office of the President of the United States, and if it's good enough for him and the offices that have come before him, it's probably good enough for you, too.

I also have an interview called “How Financial Advisors Can Conquer Call Reluctance.” This is with one of the best people in the entire world for reducing call reluctance, and in my opinion, she is the best. I personally hired her back in 2015 to help me with call reluctance and the results were amazing. This is the exact same information that I got. Financial advisors can get it for free when they subscribe.

The other bonus is “How to Get Clients” or “How to Get More Referrals,” something like that.
My favorite lead gen ad ever, which is ridiculous.

And then “The Psychology of Decision Making,” which is another ridiculous bonus.
I'm not going to go on and on and on about the bonuses, but those are all things that Inner Circle members get immediately after joining. As soon as you subscribe, you'll get taken to a thank you page with a button to download everything so you can get started right away. [08:06.2]

The marketing lesson here is that even though you really don't want to have instant gratification throughout your entire marketing funnel, there are some spots where it makes sense to just give people what they want, and in advertising, I talk about the pepperoni pizza world quite frequently. If I say, “Hey, I’ve got pepperoni pizza. Do you want to look at this pepperoni pizza?” when people opt in, when people take whatever action you want them to take, then you have to give them the pepperoni pizza. So, if I'm saying, “Look, sign up. You'll get this, this, this and this,” then I have to deliver that right away.

In an ideal world, if I really wanted to just qualify to the max and just go hard, I wouldn't offer these right away. I would delay it and I would send them through the mail, but just being a realistic business person, it would be really expensive for me to package all this up and send it in through the mail, and at $99 per month, it just doesn't really make that much sense. [08:57.4]

Plus, financial advisors like getting the bonuses right away, because the type of advisor that ends up subscribing to the Inner Circle Newsletter tends to be a higher-quality advisor anyway and even though I am doing something that gives them immediate gratification, that doesn't mean that they do that in every area of their life. It is the exception, not the rule, because I qualify elsewhere, and we're actually going to talk about that in one of the secrets.

Secret No. 2 is that the ROI potential really makes it a no-brainer. The reason I give the bonuses, one of the many reasons, is because I want to help the financial advisors get results as quickly as possible. That means if you subscribe today, you could very easily 10x your investment before the first newsletter hits your mailbox in August. But even without the bonuses, the ROI potential is ridiculous.

The marketing lesson I want you to get here is that I know that financial advice is intangible, I know it's invisible, but there are certain levers you can pull and you can explain to people, “This could have a value of this. This could have a value of this.” You're not really giving specific investment advice. You're not doing that. [09:59.0]

But if you can point went to the Vanguard Advisor's Alpha study where it says, “Oh, financial advisors add, on average, 3% to someone's portfolio over time,” you say, “Look, if I'm charging X and you're getting Y, that is a return on your investment by itself.” Also, you've got behavioral coaching. People avoid mistakes.

I think the challenge with that, when you go into behavioral coaching as a value for people, people never really think it applies to them, right? If you say, “Oh, I help people from making big catastrophic mistakes. Oh, that may be good for other people, but it's not good for me because I'm perfect and I’ll never make a mistake.” You have to just point to the studies and say, “Look, the ROI potential is here. The research has already been done. If I do this, this and this, then you're going to get a better result.” Just make sure you spell out the ROI.

In my case, with the newsletter, for example, many financial advisors charge between $3,000–5,000 for a comprehensive financial plan. Those who charge based on AUM charge roughly 1% on average. That means getting one client per year is more than enough to pay for the entire newsletter in full. [11:09.5]

Let's say you subscribe for a year at $99 per month, and I'm giving you an example here because I want you to look at the thought process here. Really take in how I'm presenting this to you. Let's say that you subscribe at $99 per month and you stay for a year. Your total cost will be 99 times 12 is 1,188.

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.

Now, let's say you get one client and you charge $3,000 per financial plan, which is on the low end based on everything that financial advisors have told me. I’ve done surveys. I basically said, “Hey, financial planners who charge for one-time financial plans, how much do you charge? Or for comprehensive financial plans, how much do you charge?” They say 3,000, 3,000, 3,500, 4,500, 5,000, 4,000—3,000 is like on the low end, right? [12:15.4]

Let's say you're on the low end and you get one per year. Let's calculate your ROI. You get $3,000 from a financial plan minus 1,188 invested in the newsletter. That is a 152% return on investment, and that's from one client per year, which is about as conservative as I can be, so I want you to think about that. I want you to think about how you can demonstrate the ROI in your process. And, yes, I know it includes things like peace of mind. I know it includes security. I know that it includes delegation and outsourcing. I get that, but just try to package it all up.

Here's some homework for you, if you want a takeaway from this podcast episode, if you're one of those types of people. Get a piece of paper, get a pen and start writing out everything people get as a result of working with you. Not one particular client, but I'm talking about everything, everything that you've seen across your entire client base. What do they really get? [13:10.2]

Yes, that includes peace of mind. Yes, it includes security and tax savings, tax efficiency, lower volatility. Just start thinking of these things. Just write them all out, and it's not necessarily that you're going to share this all with your clients. It's just that you need to know. You need to have that rock-solid belief that you provide so much value that you're going to have the courage to go out into the marketplace and to improve your marketing materials and to run a stronger business. It is more for you than for them. I know how much value I provide. I'm rock solid and my belief. If you can get to a belief like mine with your financial advice, man, you're going to be so far ahead of everybody else. [13:47.7]

Secret No. 3 is that the payback period is ultra-short, and this is something that you may not hear anywhere else. The payback period is also called time to value. It refers to the length of time until you cover your cost. Truthfully, the bonuses that I talked about can make the payback period as little as a few hours, depending on how quickly a subscriber starts implementing—meaning, they could subscribe at 5:00 p.m., start going through the first bonus at 5:15, get through it by 6:15, then go through another one and start implementing. They could, I mean, with no exaggeration whatsoever, begin implementing that same night and the payback period would be a few hours. That is really short. That is unbelievably short. But I also have an unbelievable churn rate, so it kind of makes sense.

One of the things that financial advisors told me as a result of the newsletter itself, not the bonuses, but the newsletter itself, is “I'm so much more productive than I was before. I am so much more efficient than I was before.” So, let's do some more math. I'm presenting a logical case here. [14:56.1]

Let's say you pay yourself $50 per hour, and you are paying yourself, aren't you? If the information in the newsletter helps you save just two hours per month, then the newsletter pays for itself in perpetuity, and that's without ever getting another client. That's without ever implementing any of the marketing campaigns past that initial increase or doing anything else, no extra time commitment on your part, nothing. That’s solely from the productivity gains. If you save yourself three hours per month instead of two and you pay yourself $50 per hour, then that is a greater than 50% ROI in perpetuity from that. That's how you have to think, so that's payback period plus ROI.

Secret No. 4 is that I ruthlessly qualify potential subscribers, and I want you to get this because it can transform your business. Candidly, the newsletter isn't for everyone. After all, lots of advisors have trouble taking action, because they have some deep-rooted insecurities. I'm not going to get into it right now because it's a topic for another show. [16:02.0]

Also, a lot of people don't invest in themselves because they don't believe they're worthy of investment. If they invested in themselves, that would mean they're telling themselves, “I am worthy. I deserve to make this investment in myself,” and quite frankly, I know it's sad, it's brutal, a lot of people don't feel that way. They don't do it simply because they don't think that they're worthy. It's low self-esteem. They've got some issues that they have to work out.

Anyway, I purposefully keep my newsletter exclusive because I only want high-quality financial advisors to join, because, I mean, at $99 per month, it is cheap enough that anyone could join if they wanted to, but it's still expensive enough to keep the tire kickers out.

I think it's important for financial advisors to realize that not everyone is going to work with them. I know it might feel good to delude yourself into thinking if you have a list of 100 people that all need financial planning, they need your services, and then all you have to do is make them see the light. That's simply not true. [17:03.0]

There are some people who will never work with you, no matter what. There are certain people out there who could be in the middle of a burning building and they wouldn't accept a bucket of water if it came from you. George Carlin has this quote which I like. He says, “Think about how stupid the average person is and then realize half of them are stupider than that.” That might be crass, but it illustrates the point that some people are just plain stupid.

No matter how much value you provide, no matter how trustworthy you are and no matter how much good work you do, there will always be stupid people out there who will never convert. These are the people who are in the burning building and won't accept the water. You could literally stand on the side of the street and hand out $100 bills and some people will still pass you by. Those are the stupid people, thank you very much. [17:57.7]

I'll admit, I feel a very similar way when I tell advisors about the newsletter, because I know that some will, some won't, so what? I know it is like a fire hose for someone in a burning building, and the cool irony is that the people who are burning to death are the ones who say no the most, go figure. But that is stupidity for you.

The same financial advisors who say, “Please, sir, please pay me $3,500 for a financial plan. Please, please book an appointment and pay me $3,500,” are the same ones who can't pony up $3.26 a day for themselves. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

Secret No. 5 is that the newsletter is really freaking good. Really, really freaking good. I know, “Oh, he's being arrogant. He's so cocky,” but, like, it's good. You don't get to a 0.4% churn rate if you suck. People cancel things that suck. People stick with things that are awesome. My churn rate is not an accident. The bottom line is that you have to have good stuff. You have to have a good product, a good service, a good offer, whatever, and you have to deliver on your promises. [19:05.7]

Also, I want to point out that the people who cancel, most of the time they never ask a single question, which is beyond stupid, to me. You sign up for a newsletter where you get direct email access to someone who is willing, able and genuinely wants to help you with your marketing. I want to help Inner Circle members with landing pages. I want to help them with their LinkedIn approach. I want to help them with their direct mail.

I want them to email me and talk to me about their problems or challenges, because I know for sure that I can help them, and even if there's a rare chance that I can't help them as much as I want to, I can still refer them to people who can. I give referrals out like candy. But there are some people who never ever ask a single question and they cancel, and I'm like, What the heck are you doing? You're wasting your time and you're wasting my time. You're literally not using the service. What is wrong with you? [19:55.3]

Imagine. Imagine signing up for a service, where one of the benefits is the ability to ask someone questions about a specific topic. Let's say it's weight loss and you're signing up for something and you're like, Oh, good, I get to ask this person questions about my diet and my exercise, and you just never ask a question. What? Why are you bothering with the service then?

I don't understand people like that. I really don't. I’ve tried my hardest to just empathize with these people, but quite frankly, I just can't. I think it's so dumb, so, so dumb for people to just be like, Oh, cancel the newsletter, and never ask a single question. Then I tell myself, “Relax, James. You're doing amazing work. It's obvious that you're doing amazing work because you have a 0.4% churn rate that companies like Netflix, Disney Plus and Hulu can't even touch.” So, I can't complain much. I love it.

Now let me give you some advice to tie this back into Financial Advisor Marketing. Like I said earlier, I know financial planning and financial advice is intangible or invisible, but you can make your deliveries be tangible. You can make people feel better when they interact with you. You can make them laugh. You can share experiences with them. You can make their lives better as a result of having met you, and those go beyond numbers in a financial-planning document. [21:07.5]

Another thing I would add is that it never hurts to make your value clear. If you do a tax move that will save tens of thousands of dollars, let it be known, don't be shy about it, because if someone is paying you $3,500 for a financial plan and you don't point out anything, they're just wondering, like, Did the $3,500 do anything? Am I getting anything as a result?

So, share it. Say, “I'm going to do A. It's going to save you this much. I'm going to do B. It's going to save you this much or it’s going to potentially add this much over the long term.” You can't guarantee anything or make any projections, I understand, but you're just tying your service back to your value. Do not be shy about that.

Okay, that is enough for this week. Thank you for letting me brag a little bit. Thank you for letting me rant a little bit. I enjoyed it, because a 0.4% churn rate, it really is incredible. I'm so happy. I'm so thankful, and I am so honored to be able to serve financial advisors the way I do. [21:59.6]

If you want to become an Inner Circle member, I would be honored. Make sure you read the sales page in its entirety because not everyone is a good fit for it, I'll just tell you like it is. But you can go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching.
Thank you so much. I'll catch you next week.

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