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There’s one “tactic” in particular that financial advisors use in their marketing that wrecks their conversions and undermines their influence.

This tactic?


Before you gasp, realize this: If teaching was as profitable as you think, teachers would make more money.

But for some reason, financial advisors think that teaching is the only way to build credibility. Not only are there plenty of other ways to build credibility, but they’re all more effective too.

In today’s show, I reveal why educating wrecks your marketing efforts, how to build credibility without teaching, and how to boost your conversions across all your marketing campaigns.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The single most important rule of financial advisor copywriting that you must obey if you want results (1:27)
  • How to demonstrate your value in your marketing (without teaching and scaring away your best prospects) (4:31)
  • Want to build your credibility without teaching? Here are 7 more effective ways to build credibility (8:24)
  • How MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech can boost your marketing conversions almost overnight (10:17)
  • The “Centers of Influence” secret for using other people’s credibility to fuel your own (14:35)
  • Why sharing your hobbies, personal interests, and favorite movies leads to more conversions than teaching (15:50)

Want to write emails that set appointments? I reveal the three biggest mistakes financial advisors make with email marketing, and how fixing them can lead to massive changes here: https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/Mistakes.

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.

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: Almost nothing grinds my gears more than seeing financial advisors do what I’m going to talk about in this podcast episode. But, first, I want to set the stage for you. I have written thousands of emails for myself. If you're on my email list, you know I keep them coming, rain or shine. I've sent emails on birthdays, holidays, weekends, and everything in between. I also send emails on vacations, and I even sent one on my wedding day. [00:58.0]

Now, of course, before you think that I’m a workaholic and you should pity me or something, please realize I have more of a lifestyle business than 99.9% of entrepreneurs and it's really not that big of a deal for me to write and send an email. I could even write one and schedule it for tomorrow or the next day or the day after, but I just most of the time choose not to.
I've also studied email marketing for more than a decade and I have direct access to some of the best email marketers on the planet. I've taken the marketing courses. I've been through the copywriting programs. I've hired the best copywriters in the world to look at my emails and sales pages and my personal copy to give me pointers on how I can improve, and there's a lesson there by itself.
What's interesting to me is that when I hired these copywriters to help me, they didn't talk about formulas or tactics. They didn't give me any magic sentences. Instead, they told me to focus on my market, and to give the people in my market what they want. Hmm, isn't that interesting? It sounds a lot like what a certain someone with a certain Financial Advisor Marketing podcast has been telling people to do for years. [02:03.7]

Anyway, that's not what the show is about. I have also created and/or critiqued hundreds of email marketing campaigns for financial advisors over the years, too. Email marketing is pretty much the only consulting I do for financial advisors anymore. Are there exceptions? Yes, because sometimes people will come to me with a very specific project and I say, “Look, I can actually help you with that,” and I will accept it. But most of the time, the advisors who pay me a bunch of money are the ones who want me to come in like a mercenary and just look at their email marketing systems and improve them, because it's just so easy for me to make my feedback and then some.
Plus, the advisors will have an asset that they will own and control forever. I mean, I’m getting ripped off in the deal. Really, I should have ownership or equity or something, but I’m totally getting ripped off, because they just throw cash at me and then I give them an asset that they will have forever. They will have the knowledge forever. I really need to be a better business person. [02:56.8]

My point is that I kind of sort of know a little bit about email marketing, right? And I have said this again and again and again, and here's what grinds my gears. Financial advisors educating in their emails. Ugh, what? Don't do that. Financial advisors, do not educate in your emails, and to a lesser extent, your marketing.
Every time I say this, I get pushback. It's like it sends people into a panic. They think, Wait, what? What? How am I supposed to do any sort of marketing whatsoever without educating people? I'm a teacher, and I need to teach, teach, teach.
It's just so crazy to me that financial advisors have been brainwashed into thinking that they need to be teachers. You are not a teacher. I want you to imagine that you're trying to go to Costco and someone stops you at the door and says, “Sorry, sir and/or ma'am, and/or other, I can't let you in until I teach you a few things first.”
“Let me go in. Let me buy stuff.” [03:54.0]

And I know some of you might be thinking, James, financial advice is not Costco. I'm so much better than that Costco, and you're right. Let's say you need life-saving heart surgery. Are you going to choose the person who educates you the most, or are you going to choose the person who has actually demonstrated his or her ability to save lives? I know which one I’m choosing. I don't need a teacher. I need a doer. I need someone who does the stuff. That's why I do email marketing. I do want online ads. I do run my direct mail campaigns. I'm out here doing this stuff.
Let's say that for some reason, let's go from Costco to surgeon to attorney, and you called a case, right? You did something bad, something naughty, and you need an attorney. How are you going to choose? Are you going to choose the attorney who says, “Wait, wait, before you hire me, I need to give you some value first? Or are you going to hire the attorney with the gosh-darn track record?
See, I think there's a difference between giving value and demonstrating value. Financial advisors can and should demonstrate their value. I have been saying this for years. If you go back and listen to earlier podcast episodes, you hear me talking, talking about this. It does not mean teaching. [05:04.8]

In the 250th episode of this podcast, I pulled back the curtain a little bit and talked about my podcasting philosophy. I explained how I have never, ever, ever, not even once sat down and thought to myself, Gee, what can I teach financial advisors this week? My goal is not to educate. If you learn something or you feel like you benefit from this podcast, and that is awesome and I’m happy to do it. Obviously, thousands of people feel like they benefit from the show, that it's amazing, and I’m super grateful for it. But I know that I am not a teacher and I am not going to act like one and I’m not going to treat you like a student. It's crazy to me that financial advisors believe that educating people is the only way to build credibility. I don't even understand where this belief came from. [05:50.8]

Financial advisors desperately cling to this idea that they must be teachers and prospective clients must be students, and it just wrecks their conversions. I see it. I see the Google Analytics. I see the website analytics. I see the email conversions. I see the Shield App for LinkedIn. I see the numbers. Financial advisors will send me their numbers, and I’m telling you right now, the financial advisors who switch from just educating and educating and teaching and, quote-unquote, “giving value” constantly and doing the stuff that I tell people to do get better convergence. Shocker. It's interesting how that happens. But financial advisors will continue to just believe that they need to keep teaching.
For instance, I had a financial advisor ask me, “Mind sharing a good example of how an advisor would build credibility without any form of education?” and that's a fantastic question. I appreciate your question. If someone is willing to learn that, I am willing to give an answer. But this is like asking, “Mind sharing a good example of how someone can get from Point A to Point B without walking?” [06:50.1]

Um . . . do you realize there are other modes of transportation besides walking? You could run. You could skip. You could hop. Oh, but besides that you have trains, planes, boats, bicycles, helicopters, skateboards, unicycles, motorcycles, buses, subways, Segways, scooters, horses, hot-air balloons, and cars. Meaning, you don't have to be fixated on any one way to do things. Yes, it is possible to build credibility without teaching, teaching, teaching.
If educating was walking, then financial advisors would say, Oh, the only way for me to possibly get from Point A to Point B is to do it in one of the most inefficient ways possible. Humanity would never advance with this mindset. We wouldn't have exploration. We wouldn't have westward expansion, and without that, we wouldn't have the fruits of this amazing civilization. That's the type of fixated mindset that keeps people stuck.
And, don't worry, I’m going to answer the question, because if you're a financial advisor and you want to build credibility, then I promise you, you don't have to educate, and in fact, educating can wreck your conversions. Again, I’m just telling you what I see. My results won't change if you believe me or not. My life is going to be exactly the same. [07:58.3]

So, if you take this podcast to heart and you really start thinking about the stuff that I’m going to tell you, then, yeah, your life can improve. But just keep in mind, this is not benefiting me. I already know this. I am just giving this to you because, seriously, I really do care about financial advisors, because this podcast is free. I mean, aside from the time that you're taking to listen to it, which you can't ever get back and I appreciate that. It's not like I’m selling you this thing, right?
Number one, have certifications. If you have the certifications, then let it be known. They may not mean much to everyone, but they signal that you've met certain standards in your field. There's subtle trust signals. You can even make one of them like a story about how you got your certifications and what it was like studying for them, and one of them, I mean, your emails.
You could get shared in niche-specific publications. This is one of my favorite ways to build credibility without teaching, and I’m not going to share much about it here because I talk about it a lot in my Inner Circle newsletter. But if you've ever been featured in any magazines or newspapers, or YouTube channels or podcasts in your niche, then you should showcase those appearances, because they act as third-party validations of your expertise. [09:07.5]

Plus, you can't get much stronger credibility than showing up in a niche-specific publication, because the people in your niche will immediately know that you are a part of their world.

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.

Another way you can build credibility without teaching without educating without, quote-unquote, “giving value” is speaking to groups. Whether it's at a local community gathering or an industry conference, public speaking engagements position you as an authority figure. They give you a lot of great content to use not only for your emails, but for your social media posts, your website, just your marketing in general. [10:02.7]

You don't have to teach at speaking engagements either. I know when financial advisors do these seminars, it’s like, “10 ways that you should prepare for retirement,” like, “Five ways to maximize social security income.” You don't have to do that. You could literally just share stories. In fact, if you study some of the best speeches in history, you will realize they have virtually no education in them whatsoever. This is not just James Pollard getting on his soapbox and saying, “Oh, financial advisors don't have to teach.” No, no, you don't have to take my word for it. Literally, seriously, go study the best speeches in the entire world.
I want you to google Martin Luther King's “I Have a Dream” speech right now. Pause this episode in google “I Have a Dream”, the entire speech, and read it. I want you to show me where in that speech Martin Luther King acts like an educator. I'll spare you the trouble. He doesn't. His speech was not “Five tips for reducing racism in America.” It was “I Have a Dream.” [10:58.0]

Another way you can do it is showing up every single day. This could be emailing every day. This could be posting every day on social media. It could be something else entirely. The point is that consistency breeds familiarity and trust. Regular communication, whether it's through daily emails and social media posts, it builds credibility over time, and you don't have to teach. You just have to show up.
I'll give you another example from my own life. This podcast, the one you're listening to right now, is a subtle signal of credibility. Even if someone never ever listens to a single episode, the mere fact that I have 250-plus episodes is a clue that I’m serious and that I have been around for a while, because when people see that, they do a little quick mental calculation and they think, Okay, this is a weekly podcast. There are 52 weeks in the year, so he has been podcasting for roughly five years. That's a pretty long time.
The credibility comes from the consistency. It is because of the consistency. It is not because I’m teaching. It is not because I have this metaphorical blackboard and I’m starting with Lesson 1 and then Lesson 2. None of that happens. [12:02.8]

Let's exaggerate this a little bit. Let's imagine that you have vision problems and there's someone out there who says, “I have spent five years restoring people's vision. I can get it done in 30 seconds and it only costs $1, and it's completely pain free with no side effects.” And let's assume that this person can prove that he is telling the truth, meaning, there's no doubt whatsoever. You one hundred percent believe. You are sold that this person can fix your vision. You know for sure that he can do it in 30 seconds for $1. Would you want education? Would you even want it? Would you even care if this person was educating or not? No, no, you wouldn't.
And that brings me to an important point. A lot of times, people who educate a lot are using education as a crutch for a weak offer. They think, if they just keep piling it on and piling it on, eventually, people will somehow, someway get interested enough to set an appointment or something and that is not the case at all as I just illustrated with that exaggerating example. It's not necessary if your offer is actually good. [13:07.6]

This is true with a lot of marketing. If people aren't responding to your direct mail campaign, it's because it's not compelling enough. Your offer is not good enough. That's just the truth. Now, it could be a market-to-message mismatch. I mean, you could try to sell that vision correction to people who already have perfect vision and it wouldn't work. You can't sell steaks to vegetarians. However, assuming there's a market-to-message match, then you will live and die by your offer.
Remember, people are inherently selfish and that's not necessarily a bad thing, because even Adam Smith said this in The Wealth of Nations, and I quote, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.” People sell stuff that benefits other people because it also benefits them. This is also true for buyers. Buyers buy stuff because it benefits them. People are constantly wondering, What's in it for me? How am I going to benefit? [14:04.8]

Here's an example. Thousands of people eat at Chick-fil-A every day, except for Sunday, of course. They're not interested in the Cathy family, the Cathy family that owns Chick-fil-A. They don't care. They really don't. They probably don't care what the manager of that particular Chick-fil-A is doing or if the employees got enough sleep last night. They do not care. The only thing they care about is sinking their meat hooks into some of the Lord's chicken. The more you can dig into your market and what your market wants, the better off you will be.
Another way that you can build credibility. See, am I answering the question? Am I doing a good job or what? The next way you can build credibility is by borrowing it from centers of influence. I'll keep this example short and sweet. Let's say you're comparing to accountants. The very first accountant is an educator. He tells you all about the tax laws and changes, and things you can do. He just teaches, teaches, teaches, and teaches some more. [14:59.4]

The other accountant doesn't do any education whatsoever. Actually, you only know one thing about this account and that's this: he works with the world's richest people and celebrities, too. His clients include Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jay Z and Taylor Swift. I'm just making this accountant up, but this accountant will work with you for the exact same price. Your time commitment and your cost and everything will be exactly the same.
Now, which accountant would you choose? If you're anything like most people, you would probably choose the accountant who works with entrepreneurs and celebrities. Why? Because that accountant has built massive credibility and he did it without teaching a darn thing, and truthfully, if he started teaching, then his credibility would probably tank in your eyes, because you would think, Wait a minute, why are you teaching this stuff? Why aren't you doing tax stuff for your clients?
Another way you can build credibility without teaching is demonstrating shared interests. Show that you are more than just a financial advisor. Share your hobbies, volunteer activities or causes you care about. This humanizes you and it helps clients and prospects connect with you on a personal level. Some of the highest-converting emails I have ever seen are legitimately just about hobbies and movies and books, and things like that. [16:13.7]

I actually talked about this in a free 56-minute video I put together for financial advisors. This video is all about how financial advisors can write emails that set appointments. In it, I reveal the three biggest mistakes financial advisors make with email marketing, and fixing them can lead to massive changes. If you want that video, you can find it by going to TheAdvisorCoach.com/mistakes and opting into my email list. Oh, would you look at that? I'm doing email marketing right now. Huh, that's pretty neat, isn't it? Hmm. I'm actually doing it. Again, that's TheAdvisorCoach.com/mistakes.
I’ll give you two more ways that you can build credibility without educating, and then I’m going to close the show. The next way is to tell stories about your niche. Talk about people you've met. What are they doing? What are they interested in? A lot of the most successful marketing ever—again, this is not James’ theory. This is not James’ fluff. This is seriously from the most successful marketing ever—it's built around what's called an attractive character. [17:11.0]

Think of the GEICO gecko or Flo from Progressive, or the Dos Equis man or Ronald McDonald. These are all characters that you associate with the brand. Now, am I telling you that you need to do the exact same thing? No. But let's say that you have a recurring character in your marketing that is someone from your niche and you constantly talk about that person. That's a way to demonstrate your value, because you can show how you're involved in the niche’s world. You can give subtle clues. You could talk about their day. Let me tell you this. If you can describe your niche’s day better than they can, then you are immediately elevated in their mind.
The final way to build credibility without educating is to talk about your background and relate it to why people should care. Remember the example with Chick-fil-A. People only want to sink their meat hooks into the Lord's chicken. They don't care about the Cathy family. They don't care if one of them has the sniffles. They only care about those sweet, delicious nuggets. That's the important part. [18:04.5]

You want to talk about your background and relate it back to why people should care. Why is it important for them to know? For example, I’ve spent more than a decade studying email marketing. I bought that up at the beginning of the show. That's beneficial for you, because I’ve seen it all and I’m able to give you straight talk with no chaser. This helps you.
I’m also able to spot who is the real deal versus who isn't. That helps you, too, because I can save you money, because I can help you avoid terrible mistakes. You can say that you play college football and it's important because it gave you a newfound appreciation for working on a team, and today you work with a team of professionals who can help people with insurance and taxes and financial planning. Stuff like that.
Seriously, it's not that complicated and it's not that hard to do. You just have to stop being a little robotic teacher who wants to educate constantly and start being a human being, shocker, be a human being, a real person, a real boy who relates to other people. [19:01.1]

Okay, that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. Again, if you want to get that video about the three biggest email marketing mistakes financial advisors make, go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/mistakes. It's a free 56-minute video. It gets delivered directly to your inbox. You can start watching it within minutes. You could stop this podcast, go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/mistakes, opt into the email list, and then immediately start watching that as soon as it hits your inbox. Ten minutes from now, you could be on the path to email marketing success. If you want it, go get it. And I’ll catch you next week.

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