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Some of the financial advisors I rub shoulders with are wealthy beyond belief. While others are struggling and don’t even have $1,000 in their bank account.

If you’re in the latter group, then, well, some of the marketing advice you hear online is dead wrong. In fact, it can actually set you back years if you follow it.

But don’t worry. I’m here to save you from boneheaded marketing decisions when you’re on a shoestring budget.

In today’s episode, I reveal the exact things I would do to market myself as a financial advisor if I only had $1,000 to my name.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The raw, unfiltered truth about why you can’t make 6 or 7 figures as a financial advisor (2:57)
  • How your deathbed can turn you into a world-class marketer—almost overnight (5:01)
  • Why hiring a freelance web designer pilfers your freedom (even if you get a great website in return) (8:50)
  • The anti-outsourcing advice you desperately need to hear if you want to grow your wealth (9:21)
  • Can’t seem to book appointments or land clients no matter what you do? Try this simple, yet effective DM question… (11:43)
  • How acting like a real human being can unlock more opportunities than all the best formulas and step-by-step guides in the world (13:11)

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: In this week's episode, I'm going to talk about what I would tell financial advisors to do if they only had 1,000 bucks to invest in themselves, their businesses and their marketing efforts.
I'm recording this episode for a few reasons. First, I see the disparity between financial advisors. I have Inner Circle members, for example, who email me talking about how well they're doing and how much money they're making, and then on the very same day, I will see financial advisors who attempt to buy a $49 product from me and have their credit cards declined. How can you give financial advice for a living and get your card declined for $49? [01:07.8]

I try so hard not to judge people, but I know I'm judging on this one, because, I mean, how do you not know? How do you not know that your credit card is maxed out and you have no more money or that you don't have any money in your bank account? I can't relate to that. What I mean is I can't relate to not knowing. I can definitely relate to not having the money or being broke because I’ve been broke before, but I knew I was broke. At all times, I knew how much money I had and how much I had to work with. I wasn't out there trying to buy $49 products if I only had $20 in my bank account.
The second reason I'm recording this is because many financial advisors are timid when it comes to marketing. They're not willing to pay the price, because they can't clearly see the promise. You see, I don't really have a problem spending a few hundred or a few thousand bucks per day on advertising because I can see the promise. [01:59.2]

I've been doing this for a long time. I don't expect you to be at my level. I certainly do not. But I know if I pay that price, I should, with a relatively high degree of certainty, get a promise, meaning, if I spend a bunch of money on sending traffic to a landing page designed to collect email subscribers, I should get email subscribers within the range of my estimate.
But I’ve also been marketing for nearly two decades. I’ve been working with financial advisors specifically for nine years now. Wow, it definitely doesn't feel that long and this is the seventh year I’ve been writing the Inner Circle newsletter. So, not only have I been involved in the industry, because a lot of people can be involved, I have spent seven years in direct contact with financial advisors. I have talked with them back and forth pretty much every single day of those seven years, and some are just scared. That's okay. It's okay to be scared. But I don't want you to be scared forever. I don't want you to be timid forever. [02:55.8]

I also want you to realize it's really hard to grow a six-figure or seven-figure business if you're desperately clutching every single penny you have. I recently did a podcast interview where the interviewer asked me some really thoughtful questions, and in one of my responses to his questions, I talked about how a closed fist cannot receive and how I frequently see financial advisors who believe they will be the exception to that rule. They believe they will be the very first one in human history to receive with a closed fist. It cannot happen.
But I don't want to ramble on too much. Let me get into exactly how I would market a financial advisor’s business with only $1,000.
The first thing I would do is accept the fact that $1,000 is pretty much nothing, zero. You’ve got zilch. You shouldn't even think that you have money or that spending money is an option, at least not on a gut level. Intellectually, yes, you can accept that you have 1,000 bucks. However, when you are making decisions and looking at your options, you should prioritize the ones that don't deplete your resources. Why? Because it's not about resources. It is about resourcefulness, and you are going to be resourceful. [04:04.8]

Resourcefulness is more important than resources. I've seen so many financial advisors and entrepreneurs in general over the years who struggled because they use a lack of resources as an excuse for why they're not succeeding. Guess what? If you don't have any resources, then you have to use resourcefulness in order to get the resources, which means the real problem is always a lack of resourcefulness. You can always get more money. You could always get more stuff, right? But you can't just use that as an excuse.
The actual definition of the word “resourceful” is this. It's having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties. That's pretty darn important. What are some keywords in there? “Quick.” It should not take six months to design a landing page. It should not take a year for you to figure out your social media strategy. You need to be quick. Speed it up. Figure things out. [05:01.0]

Every single day that passes brings you closer to your death. Why would you want to spend any more time than necessary being in a bad spot? Think about that. If you choose to wallow in your own misery, all you're doing is increasing the percentage of your life spent in misery. That's dumb. I want to maximize the percentage of my life that I will spend joyfully and blissfully. In order to do that, I need to be what? Resourceful when I find myself facing a difficulty.
Another key word in that definition is “clever.” The definition of clever is quick to understand, learn, and devise or apply ideas. There's that word again, “quick.” Speed is of the essence. If I only had $1,000 and I had to market any business, not just the financial advice business, I would move fast. I probably wouldn't even get any sleep for the first day, maybe the second day, too. I'm just being honest with you. [05:55.4]

I would probably stay up for 24 to 48 hours straight, doing whatever it took and whatever I had to do to get my act together. I would think through scenarios. I would plan and I would do it quickly. Quick, quick, quick. It's in the definition, you need to do this. I would spend all day doing that, possibly two days if I could keep it up, to keep the percentage of my life spent in misery as low as possible.
Now, what are some synonyms for resourceful. We have ingenious, imaginative, inventive and creative. You're going to have to be more ingenious, imaginative, inventive and creative, in order to think of ways to get more clients without money. You also have to realize that you're going to have to do a lot of stuff yourself. I know, I know, outsource everything is the hot trendy buzzword for 2023 and 2022 and 2021, and every single year, people are like, Outsource, outsource, outsource.
You're going to have to do a lot of this stuff yourself. You will probably have to design and/or improve your website yourself because web design agencies won't even look in your direction for $1,000, and if they do, you probably don't want that web design agency. They could charge you a whole bunch and that's your entire stack right there. [07:06.0]

I think this is good advice for all financial advisors, even if you have money, and here it is. You should at least have a basic understanding of how your website works and how to change it, if needed. I know professional website designers can sometimes hate on drag-and-drop builders like Wix or Weebly, but, truthfully, they get the job done.
The Advisor Coach was actually built on Weebly, if you can believe that. It's kind of wild to think that that's the case, but it is. They're very easy to use, and the big companies typically have a ton of articles and a ton of resources like videos and whatnot, showing you how to use them. They have databases that they can dig into and say, “Oh, you're having X problem. Here is Y solution,” and it's there.
If those articles, those videos, those resources aren't enough, you can get in touch with them directly and get help. You can contact them. Some have live chat. Some have phone support. Some have email support. All of them should have email support, and you can get help that way. Their incentive is for you to keep paying them. If you don't get the help you need, then guess what? You’re probably not going to keep paying them, so they aren't going to help you. [08:12.8]

Let's say you build your own website with something like a drag-and-drop builder. You will then have a valuable skill that can be applied elsewhere, not just with financial advice. Maybe you want to start another business in five years. Maybe you want to help a family member. You have marketing skills, you have business. Maybe your child wants to get in business or start an HVAC business, or a plumbing business or something. If so, then you will know how to get a website up and running. You will know how to collect forms on a website. You will know how to set appointments for your son or whoever, right? You can do it. That will be one less thing holding you and your family enterprise back. [08:50.1]

Oh, and once your site is live, you can make changes immediately without consulting anyone. That is freedom. This can be a lifesaver, because I’ve heard horror stories of financial advisors who depended on freelancers who quit, ghosted them, went on vacation, I mean, just in time for something to break. Isn't that how that works out? Everything is fine for a year, and then the day the person who helps you goes on vacation, stuff goes wrong. Being able to log into your account and do the stuff is a godsend.
You should also learn how to manage your own social media, manage your own email, and more, not just to save money—this is not a money thing—but because the best content will come from you. Stop being lazy. Stop trying to outsource stuff. Some financial advisors will say, “Why wouldn't I outsource if I could get an ROI?” and the answer is because the ROI is smaller.
In business, you are allocating capital to achieve maximum ROI, right? Or risk-adjusted ROI. Remember, I'm trying to maximize my life here as well. It's kind of like people who say, “You don't have a business. You have a job.” Let me ask you, what would you rather have? Would you rather have a business that pays you $200,000 per year or a, quote-unquote, “job” that pays you $700,000 per year? There really is no right answer. But I don't think there's any shame in the job, if it can help you accomplish your wealth goals faster. [10:16.8]

I am going to reach my financial-freedom goal a lot faster if I'm in a job that pays me $700,000 per year, and I'm just answering emails, I'm doing everything myself and people say, “Oh, you're on the hamster wheel, bro.” So are you? What are you going to do? Just be on a beach constantly and watch TV all day long? No, you're going to do stuff, right? Why not get to your goals faster?
I don't want to drag out the time it takes for me to accomplish my wealth goals. If learning to do stuff means I can make the next million dollars 80% quicker, then that's what I'm going to do. Uh-oh, there's that word again. What did I just say? Quick. Hmm. I hope you're reading between the lines of this podcast episode and picking up what I'm trying to tell you. [10:55.0]

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

Another thing I would do right away is develop a plan for getting clients with social media. While we're on the social media topic, I’ll talk about this. Social media is so underrated. Look, I'm a student of the sales and marketing game. I've read sales books from the 1930s. I've read marketing books from the 1960s and everything in between. I have studied my butt off. I have no butt anymore because it is gone since I study so much.
I don't think people truly understand how difficult it was to get clients in the past compared to what you have to do today. I've talked about this in past episodes, but a lot of people I look up to in the copywriting world used direct mail. They would send letters in the mail and those letters had to get people to respond, but think about this. [12:02.0]

In order to respond, people would have to get a pen or a pencil, fill out a response card, tear the response card off carefully, because even though it was perforated, these things had a knack for just ripping. You don't want it to rip. You want to actually be able to place your order. You put the response card into the response envelope, lick it, seal it, whatever. Go outside. Walk out to the mailbox. Put the envelope in the mailbox and wait, wait, wait and wait some more.
What do people have to do today? All they have to do is click a button or click some keys. That's all. If I send someone a message on social media, all that person has to do is just respond to me and that person's response can be made easier because I can do things like ask questions that are specific to that person's situation. I am not just sending a direct mailer to 1,000 people where I kind of have to massage the message in order to fit all of those 1,000 people while still being specific.
If I'm sending a social media message to Bob, I can make it about Bob and Bob's situation. Maybe I can say something like, “Hey, Bob, I saw your post about going to Cancun. We used to stay at the royal sands years ago. What are some of your favorite things to do in Cancun?” Stop overthinking this stuff. [13:11.1]

I see a lot of financial advisors use these long drawn-out messages or they think they have to have a step-by-step formula for everything. If I say something like this, if I say, “I tried to get 10,000 steps a day,” a financial advisor, I guarantee you, will ask me, “James, do you have a template or a step-by-step formula to ensure that I achieve my 10,000 steps per day?” Do you understand that thing when you take one foot and you put that foot in front of the other one? Do that, and then do it 9,999 more times.
It blows my mind that people need templates and cheat sheets and step-by-step formulas for everything in life. Bro, stop being a freakin’ robot. Have a real conversation like a real human being that doesn't need a spreadsheet just to put his underwear on. Some of you are walking around like, “must-activate - conversation mode.” Just be a real person. [14:03.8]

Do you understand that you could wake up tomorrow and send 40 messages to people attempting to engage in a real conversation, not robot mode? You don't even have to leave the house. You don't have to pay for postage. You don't have to go anywhere. You don't have to hire anyone. You don't have to put on pants. You could literally sit on the couch, have some TV and background, and start messaging people. This is not difficult. Let's say that you do. You do that every business day for a month. That's 20 business days, so 20 times 40 is 800 attempts at starting conversations.
Don't you think that you might have some success with that? Don't you think that maybe if you're a financial advisor who works with dentists, then maybe, just maybe, one or two dentists will want to talk with you about financial advice, especially if you're on LinkedIn where your headline will say something like, “I'm a financial advisor who helps dentists”? It's like walking around with a sign that everybody can see that people will see it. If you are talking to 800 dentists, they will all, every single one of them, when they see your message, will see your headline and how you help dentists. What a concept. [15:10.7]

The idea that someone would want to steer a conversation toward you helping him or her? Whoa, it's almost as if people have inherent self-interest. Maybe that's something you should acknowledge in your marketing, but what do I know? I don't really know anything. You shouldn't listen to me, I guess. Seriously, don't listen to anything I say.
Next, the fact that you only have $1,000 in this situation suggests to me that you're not very successful as a financial advisor. Deducing a little bit more tells me you probably don't have a niche, because if you had a niche, then you would think through your marketing plan and you would figure out ways to reach people in that niche, and you would have more money. Following that thought process, I would work with what you have, and if you don't have a niche yet, I would reach out to everyone in your close family and friends group and let you let them know that you are a financial advisor. This is not to make a list of 250 names and try to get everybody to hire you. This is not that, okay? [16:07.2]

You will be amazed at some of the opportunities you can find. You are not trying to get them to become clients here. All you're doing is letting them know what you do for a living, and again, having a real conversation with them. Real conversation. You're just talking, okay? You're not trying to sell them anything. You're not trying to get them to hire you. You're just having a conversation. Remember that metaphorical sign. If you say, “I'm a financial advisor,” they get it. They're not stupid. They know.
I want you to imagine that one of your family members opened an eyewear store, selling glasses and prescription lenses, and stuff like that. That person calls you and tells you about it, and then annoyingly keeps trying to direct the conversation into being all about him. You wouldn't like it right? You will be like, Okay, I get it. You sell glasses. That's cool. If I need glasses, I’ll let you know. Because you would get it. You would understand. Okay, my cousin Joe sells glasses. If anybody needs glasses, I'm going to call my cousin Joe. Joe should not have to keep bringing it up. [16:07.2]

Yet that type of thinking goes out the window when it comes to financial advisors. Somehow people are expected to immediately become so interested in you, the financial advisor, that they will want to drop everything about their lives and send an appointment right away. It doesn't work that way. You need to talk with lots of people. You need to get out into the world. Having money allows you to take your marketing and push it out into the world, but since you don't have money, you need to be the one to put in the effort.
I would also go back to one of the core tenets of Planet Pollard. You need to do outbound and inbound marketing. You should not treat them as one or the other, because if you do nothing but outbound marketing, then you'll never build any real systems that get clients to come to you. But if you don't have that much money and you try to do nothing but inbound marketing, you will likely quit or give up, or run out of the money and the other resources that you might have before clients start to work with you and the inbound marketing assets start to work for you. [18:04.6]

I bring that up because I don't want you to ignore inbound marketing simply because it takes time to work. Inbound marketing is kind of like building an investment portfolio. The sooner you start, the better. Just take whatever time you have and put it into your inbound marketing system. I mean, nobody is expecting you to have a massive email list and a complete autoresponder sequence on Day 1.
But if you can create a landing page on Day 1, that's great. Then on Day 2, you can write your first email in your sequence, and then on Day 3, you can write the next email and so on. Then maybe on Day 17, you can revamp your LinkedIn profile. Then on Day 25, you can revamp your website homepage, and that way, when these things start to work for you. You will already hit the ground running. You have to do the work. You can't tell a fireplace, “Hey, you give me heat and then I’ll give you some logs.” No, you have to give the logs first and then you get the fire. It can be no other way. [19:01.8]

I think we have this disease running rampant through our society and that disease is wanting something for nothing. I have studied a ton of history, and if you're an Inner Circle member, you know this for sure that I'm reading a ton and I constantly get recommendations. I've read a lot about various civilizations and I can tell you that this “something for nothing” mentality has never worked, ever. It has a zero-percent success rate.
We live in a world of cause and effect. What's interesting is that you only having $1,000 with which to market is an effect of earlier causes, so it might be helpful for you to go back and see what those causes were. That way you don't repeat them. If you want better effects, aka more clients and more money and all that jazz, then you need to have better causes. [19:53.8]

I get a lot of criticism from financial advisors and various marketing people because the stuff I talk about seems too simple, but simple almost always beats complex, and I'm living proof of that—and let me tell you something. If you have no landing page, then I guarantee you, nobody will opt into your email list through a landing page, none. If you have no online ads, I guarantee nobody will become a client for you as a result of your online ads. If you aren't active on social media one more time, what's my guarantee? I guarantee you that you will not get any clients from social media, because you won't have it. Huh, what a concept.
I bet you thought I was going to say that you should take that 1,000 bucks and invest it in a course or a program, or my newsletter, didn't you? That's certainly a viable option and I encourage that line of thinking. However, let's go back to the cause-and-effect thinking. The cause of you only having $1,000 is unlikely to be because you didn't have the right course, you didn't have the right program or the right newsletter. Taking a course or a program might be necessary, but it's not going to be sufficient to fix your problems. That's why I never say, “Oh, just subscribe to the newsletter and it will solve all of your problems,” because it will not. It is merely a small, small, small part of the overall puzzle. [21:11.8]

Anyway, that's enough for this episode. This was more of a mindset episode than anything else, and I hope it helps you. If you enjoyed this podcast, make sure to share it with a friend. Thank you so much for listening, and I’ll catch you next week.

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