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Studying psychology is one of the most effective ways to supercharge your marketing. Psychology teaches you how to crawl into your prospective clients’ psyche, and live there rent free until they’re ready to hire you.

But most financial advisors don’t leverage psychological principles in their marketing because they don’t know how powerful they are.

That’s why, in this episode, I’m revealing 5 of my favorite, little-known psychological principles that have built my business, and can supercharge your marketing.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • How to use evolutionary history to land higher quality appointments and clients (1:14)
  • Why using your emails to build unity instead of giving stock market forecast predictions helps you set appointments on autopilot (2:07)
  • The “Social Identity Theory” secret that gives you an unfair advantage that other advisors simply cannot copy (2:49)
  • How to embed a deep sense of liking in your prospective clients psyches that subconsciously makes them want to hire you (5:22)
  • 3 factors which give you instant credibility in prospective clients’ eyes (even if you’re not as credible as your competitors) (5:56)
  • Why covering your office walls with corny motivational posters can make your clients invest more with you (13:42)

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: Welcome to another episode of the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. This is Episode 264, which means I have been doing these episodes every single week for more than five years. I'm happy to serve financial advisors. I'm glad that I play even a small part in so many people's lives. Thank you so much for listening. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please share it. Help me get the word out. I want to make this podcast even more successful, and to do that, I need your help. [00:58.8]

This week, I want to chat with you about five little-known psychological principles that can supercharge your marketing. That may seem like a big claim, but I plan on backing it up, not only with examples from financial advisors or for financial advisors, but with examples from other businesses, too.
The very first principle I want to share with you is the principle of unity. This refers to the tendency to seek connections and belong to groups. That is the definition pretty much. It’s rooted in our evolutionary history, because survival is often dependent on being a part of a tribe or a community. That's actually one of the reasons why getting rejected hurts so much and why people hate rejections, because it feels like their very survival is being threatened when someone tells them no.
In modern terms, this psychological principle highlights our innate desire to be part of something larger than ourselves and to connect with others who share our values. This could be football teams. This could be churches. This could be mommy blogs and mom groups, if you're a mom. There's so many things for this. [01:57.2]

The psychology of unity, it's been one of my secret weapons for many years now. It's one of the reasons my niche marketing campaigns work so well. It's one of the reasons why my online ads tend to be more effective, and it's a big part of why doing email marketing, the way I show financial advisors how to do it, can set appointments on autopilot, because you're not sitting down and teaching people or giving them stock market commentary. What you're doing is building unity with them. You're showing your email recipients that you are a human being like them and you're all in this together.
Of course, you can be more specific than being a human being. It's not like you say, “Oh, I can work with anyone who talks to me or who has a pulse.” That's the point of having a target market and telling stories, because if you tell a story about your family, then the recipient can identify you as someone with a family, and if the recipient also has a family, you are now unified in that way, and that's really powerful.
One of the psychological terms for this is the social identity theory, and it was first discovered in the 1970s, and it suggests that people categorize themselves and others into various social groups such as social class, football-team affiliations, professional groups, and on and on and on. It's been studied and replicated dozens of times over the years. [03:08.7]

One experiment that I want to point out to you found that bystanders are more likely to help an injured person if they're wearing a football jersey of a team the bystander likes, and this was done in Europe, I believe. I could be wrong. People are probably going to let me know that I'm wrong on this. I believe football actually meant soccer here in America. But even if you’re wearing an Eagles jersey or a Steelers jersey, if somebody else is a Steelers fan, and you're on the side of the road and you're trying to fix a flat tire, and another Steelers person rolls by and sees that you have a Steelers jersey on, that person is more likely to stop.
Another experiment found that even arbitrary and seemingly meaningless distinctions such as preferences for different types of art can lead to group favoritism. Experiments like these, they demonstrate the profound effect that social identities and group memberships can have on human behavior and interactions, even with little things. [04:01.0]

“You like this type of art. I like the same type of art. Boom, we're now unified.”
“You like hip hop music. I like hip hop music. You like country music. I like country music. We unify in that way.”
Now, what does that mean for you? It means, just like I said, you should strive to put yourself in the same groups with your prospective clients and make that known. For example, if your clients are heavily involved in local community events or charities, show your commitment to your community. Show your commitment to charity. This demonstrates the same values. Show them that you like the same books. Show them that you like the same movies.
I talked about this in a video presentation I did called “The Three Biggest Email Marketing Mistakes Financial Advisors Make.” You can watch that over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/mistakes. One more time, that’s TheAdvisorCoach.com/mistakes, and it is very important because it builds rapport with your recipients. You are showing them that you are like them. This goes far beyond any tip, trick or tactic. This should be a strategy that permeates your entire business, and it gives you a competitive advantage that other advisors simply cannot copy. [05:10.0]

It also goes beyond the advice about building rapport that many sales books and trainings talk about, because you're not just making small talk about the weather or commenting on a prospective client’s family. Yes, I’ve seen both of those things recommended in sales books. Instead, what you're doing is you're embedding a deep sense of liking in your prospective clients' psyches, whether they recognize it or not. Suddenly, they'll find themselves liking you more, trusting you more, and wanting to work with you more, all because you are like them.
That also makes you more credible to them, which is a great segue into the second psychological principle, which is the psychology of credibility. The psychology of credibility revolves around the principle that people are more likely to believe, trust and follow advice or recommendations from people they believe are credible or perceive as credible. This perception of credibility is influenced by a combination of factors, but the biggest ones are expertise, trustworthiness and reliability, and I'm going to break down each of those for you. [06:05.6]

Expertise is all about your knowledge, your skills, and your experience. It is your expertise. So, what are your credentials? What are your qualifications? How long have you been in business? To be fair, I have Inner Circle members who are relatively new financial advisors who are doing far better than advisors who have been in the business for a decade or more. I also have Inner Circle members who don't have that many credentials, but have a ton of experience, so I've seen all kinds. But all else being equal, prospective clients want a financial advisor with more qualifications, more credentials, and more experience. In real life, things are rarely equal, I will say that, but you can't do much harm by building your credibility this way.
Trustworthiness is about being someone who can be trusted. It's about your character. It's about your integrity, and I’ve always thought it’s interesting that people who talk most about their integrity typically have the least amount of integrity. It's kind of like other things in life. [06:59.0]

There's this video going around the internet right now of this dual-income, no-kids couple, also called DINKs, if you didn't know that. They're called DINKs, D-I-N-Ks, DINKs, and they're bragging about how they do all of these things, like, “Oh, we're DINKs. We go to Costco on the weekends.” Good for you. “We're DINKs. We go to Florida.” Okay. “We're DINKs. We do it three times a week,” and I'm thinking, first of all, you can do all of those things with children, and honestly, if you don't have kids and you're only doing it three times a week, something's wrong. But they were talking about it because they do it the least, just like people who say, “We have integrity,” typically have the least integrity.
Anyway, that's expertise. That's trustworthiness. Then you have reliability. Basically, do you show up? Take this podcast, for example. I have been showing up for five years. I would say, that makes this podcast pretty darn reliable. In a market saturated with choices, credibility is what sets you apart. People will see you as credible. It signals to potential clients that you're knowledgeable, you're reliable, and you're trustworthy. That is crucial, because a client's financial future often hinges on the advice that they receive from you, and that means that credibility. It’s not just a marketing tool, but it's an imperative. [08:13.3]

I'm not going to talk too much about credibility because I did an entire episode about this concept two weeks ago. If you want to go back and listen to that episode, it's called “The Surefire Way for Financial Advisors to Wreck Their Marketing Efforts.” In a nutshell, many advisors believe that the only way to build credibility is to teach, teach and teach some more. It's just not true. It's one of my biggest pet peeves. Someone asked me, “How do you build credibility without teaching?” and that episode is the answer. It talks about a bunch of ways financial advisors can build credibility without teaching a darn thing. [08:43.7]

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.

The third psychological principle is the ostrich effect, and it's a cognitive bias where people avoid or ignore negative or unpleasant information, similar to the myth that ostriches will bury their heads in the sand in order to avoid danger. They don't actually do that, but the metaphor is used to describe people's behavior. [09:24.8]

This effect, the ostrich effect, it's observed in a lot of places, like investors ignoring the financial losses, individuals not checking their bank balances when they know they spend too much and even ignoring medical tests due to the fear of bad news.
There was a study done back in 2014 and it examined the impact of the ostrich effect on the likelihood of women getting mammograms. What they found was shocking. I know that articles and headlines would say, “What they found will shock you,” but, seriously, this will shock you. Contrary to what might be expected, women were 8% less likely—less likely—to get a mammogram when a coworker was diagnosed with breast cancer. [10:04.8]

Think of that. Women could see that mammograms are important, because they're staring in the face of someone who has breast cancer. They had a clear reminder to get those darn mammograms. But they succumb to the ostrich effect. They were less likely to get them.
Now, why am I telling you about this? Because I see financial advisors falling prey to the ostrich effect all the time. They know their marketing isn't as good as it should be. They know they can improve their business systems. They know they can be more, do more, and have more. Yet, what do they do? They stick their heads in the sand. They ignore everything. This is going to be deep. I'm going to hit you with this. Make sure you're sitting down. I have noticed that one of life's coolest ironies is that the people who are most likely to need help are also typically the least likely to ask for it. [10:55.6]

One of the examples I give is with women who are pregnant and expecting their first child. Women who are probably going to be great mothers are going to seek out books about parenting and raising a child, and how to be a better mom and what to expect when you're expecting. These women, because they have that predisposition, they're likely to be good mothers.
But the women who are going to suck and be terrible mothers are never going to seek out those books in the first place. But they're the ones who need those books, right? Are you picking up what I'm putting down? Those women need those books, but they don't seek them out. The people who need the help the most are also the least likely to seek it out. Ask for help if you need it.
That's why I give my Inner Circle members the ability to ask me questions. They can email me at any time, for any reason, with anything marketing or business-building-related, and I will do my best to help them. And even if I can't help, meaning, if I can't give them a direct answer, like, “Hey, do this. Do that. Go here. Click this button. Change this thing,” I still try to point the advisor in the direction of someone or some resource that can help. [11:57.0]

The reason I have the ostrich effect under the heading of “supercharging your marketing” is because asking for help is the thing that can supercharge your marketing. I'm all about asking for help. A long time ago, I took this personality test to determine which forms of call reluctance I had, and I discovered that I maxed out the coachability skill, meaning, you can't get much more coachable than me. That's just part of my personality.
I am constantly looking for people and resources and things, and gizmos and gadgets, whatever I can get my hands on to help me get better. I want to be coached. I want people to help me. But I realize not everybody has that personality trait. Not everyone is built the same way. That's what makes the world go round. It takes all different kinds. Either way, if things aren't where you want them to be right now, then you need to overcome the ostrich effect.
The fourth psychological principle that can supercharge your marketing is the psychology of linking. There was this cool study done where a call center was requesting donations for a nonprofit and they tested the unconscious power of linking. They divided workers into two groups. Each group was given information to help them best communicate the value of donating. This is a call center. They want to give you reasons why you should donate, where the money is going toward, that sort of thing. [13:14.5]

Group 1 was given all of this information on a piece of paper with nothing else. It was just the text. Group 2 was given the information on a piece of paper that also had a photo of a runner winning a race. The results of linking Group 2’s instructions with the runner winning the race was that Group 2 raised 60% more money than group one. Not 16. Sixty, 60%. The link between the instructions and winning caused a change of behavior in their employees.
You might think it's cheesy, to see somebody with motivational posters all over the walls. They are linking success. Have you ever really considered that? They're linking success. That is what is happening. If I have a stack of cash on my desk, I'm linking what I'm doing with income and building wealth, and money. If I can check my investment account, I'm linking, I'm linking, I'm linking. I'm constantly doing this. This is something I do in my personal life. I don't really talk too much about that. [14:13.0]

But the psychology of linking is based on the concept that our brains create connections between different pieces of information often subconsciously. In marketing, this means associating your offering, you, the financial advisor, with positive emotions, experiences, outcomes, whatever you want.
Have you ever wondered why Coca-Cola links itself to having fun all the time? Seriously, go to Google right now and look up old Coca-Cola advertisements. You'll find people on the beach having fun, spending time with family, smiling, having a barbecue, a cookout, cute little polar bears and all of this stuff. Some of their most successful campaigns actually had Santa Claus, and I'm willing to bet that some of you listening right now have Coca-Cola memorabilia in your house right now, at this moment, because Coca-Cola has linked itself to good times. It is intentional. [15:07.8]

Have you ever wondered why Nike goes so hard with athletic sponsorships? It's because they want to be linked with superior athletes. They want millions of people to believe that somehow buying the right pair of shoes will turn them into Michael Jordan. It's absurd when you think about it, but people don't think. They link.
In terms of financial-advisor marketing, I will say you are the link. You should walk the talk and live what you're doing. There's a lot more I could say about this, but I want to give you the fifth and final psychological principle, and that is something called the peak-end rule. The peak-end rule, a concept coined by psychologist Daniel Kahneman, posits that people judge in experience largely based on how they felt at the most intense point, that's the peak, and the conclusion, that's the end. [15:55.3]

In the context of marketing and advertising, the peak-end rule is critical because it influences how people remember and how they feel about a brand or product. This is crucial for financial advisors, because conversions typically don't happen very quickly. They happen over a long period of time, so you want to control both of these. [16:12.7]

A great example of the peak-end rule in action, and even though this is not a super long sequence, like a financial-advisor sales cycle, you can still observe this, it's whenever Apple releases a new product. Apple's product launches are designed to create a peak experience. The unveiling of the product itself, whatever it is, whether it's the iPhone 69 or the iPad 242, it's like this crescendo, right? They have the availability and the pricing, and it's going to be amazing. It's got all these features and the audience is feeling great, and it's a positive first impression. They obviously end strong, too, which is the end part of this rule.
Disney is also a master at using the peak-end rule. Disney creates peak experiences with spectacular rides. They've got great shows. They’ve got character interactions. And the peak will be different for different people. If your kid absolutely loves Minnie Mouse, then seeing Minnie Mouse will be that peak. If your kid loves the Minions—I'm partial to the Minions myself. I love the Minions—then that will be the peak experience. [17:15.8]

Now, the end of the visit is often marked by fireworks. A fireworks display, a special sendoff, guests leave happy because of that. Also, the fireworks make people stay longer, so they spend more money. Have you ever considered that? Have you ever realized that the reason Disney does the fireworks is because it gets thousands of people to say this? “Oh, well, we’ve got to stay for the fireworks,” and that means more money in Disney's coffers.
Ritz-Carlton also takes advantage of the peak-end rule as well, because they ensure their guests’ days are filled with peak moments, like personalized greetings, surprise room upgrades, thoughtful amenities, whatever it is. Like I said, the peak experience can be different for each person. If someone has a history of staying with Ritz-Carlton and getting a massage and getting another massage and going to the spa, then they will likely comp that person and they will treat that person. They will do something special for that person related to the spa. The end can also be made special with personalized farewells, like small parting gifts. They know what they're doing. They do it on purpose. This is not an accident. [18:19.5]

I could keep going, but this podcast episode has gone on long enough. I'm running up on time here, so to recap, the five psychological principles are, 1) unity, 2) credibility, 3) the ostrich effect—or I guess whatever the opposite of it is. I don't want you to fall prey to the ostrich effect. I don't want you to just stick your head in the metaphorical sand and ignore everything that's going wrong in your life and your business—4) linking, and 5) the peak-end rule.
I hope this podcast episode has helped you. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a friend. It helps out the show, and I want you to do it because one of my goals is to make this show even better and I can't do that without you.
I hope you have a fantastic week. Thank you so much for listening, and I’ll catch you next week. [19:06.7]

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