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A lot of financial advisors struggle getting clients. They can (usually) keep them once they find them, but finding them is a constant uphill battle.


Well, after helping thousands of financial advisors, I’ve realized there are 7 fundamental reasons why financial advisors struggle to get clients.

If you don’t fix these 7 mistakes, you will struggle to get clients forever. Sounds harsh, but it’s true.

The good news is, if you listen to—and implement—everything in today’s episode, you’ll never starve for clients again.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The “inversion” secret that twists your failures into raging success stories (1:01)
  • Survey finds 83% of financial advisors are hypocrites… Find out if you’re one here: (1:43)
  • Why only relying on outbound marketing makes your business slowly wither into oblivion (7:27)
  • The “MMS” philosophy for marketing that keeps the appointments rolling in (7:57)
  • How building a “Marketing Asset” brings in consistent cash flow like a high-paying dividend (9:48)
  • The single biggest mistake financial advisors make when picking a niche that forever stunts their growth (11:34)
  • How traditional lead gen companies subtly cripple your business from the inside out (12:40)
  • The “Charlie Sheen” secret for making your competitors utterly irrelevant (13:45)
  • 4 ingredients for creating an infectious value proposition that your ideal clients can’t resist (only 26% of Baron’s Top 100 even do this!) (17:10)
  • How changing a few words in your vocabulary can be the difference between landing a new client or watching them slip through your fingers (18:4I love 5)

83% of financial advisors make plans for their clients, but don’t make a plan for their own business. Isn’t that wild? If you’re one of the 83% without a marketing plan, I created one for you. Get it here: https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/marketing-plan

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: Hey, financial advisors, I hope you're doing well. This episode is scheduled to drop on February 12, so two days before Valentine's Day. Love is in the air, and because I love helping financial advisors get more clients, I have been releasing weekly episodes of the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast for more than five years now. I am truly thankful for every single person who is listening right now. I don't want you to ever think that I don't appreciate you, because I do. [01:00.6]

One of Charlie Munger's famous quotes was “All I want to know is where I'm going to die so I'll never go there.” That statement is all about inversion. The principle of inversion involves approaching a problem backwards and it's something I've talked about in my Inner Circle newsletter for years now. It's something that I think is so profound, I've used it in my life. I've recommended financial advisors to use it in their lives as well. Instead of focusing on what you should do to achieve success, it emphasizes understanding the paths that lead to failure and avoiding them. That is what inversion is.
In this week's episode, I'm going to give you seven reasons why you might struggle to get clients forever so you can avoid them. Let's begin.
No. 1: You are a hypocrite. There was a survey done by FA Insights by Design, which found that only 17% of financial advisors have developed a strategic plan for their businesses. Think of that. That means 83% of financial advisors are out there making plans for other people without having plans for their own businesses. Isn't that wild? [02:06.6]

Now, shameless plug alert. I actually have a financial advisor marketing plan over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/marketing-plan, so “marketing [dash] plan.” TheAdvisorCoach.com/marketing-plan. I’ve sorted through hundreds of marketing plans over the years, not just for financial advisors, but across multiple industries, because I wanted to see, what do these look like? What are they saying? What are they trying to accomplish? And I just wanted to bang my head against a wall. They made everything so complicated.
You practically needed a Harvard MBA, just to understand the first sentence. There was jargon, charts, graphs, and all this trivial information that never really gets to the heart of the matter, which is getting more clients, making more money. Simply put, I couldn't find a marketing plan simple enough or good enough to warrant my endorsement, so I created one. If you want it, then it's $67 right now. I can't recommend it enough, obviously, because I created it. [03:02.6]

No. 2: You are not the client you wish to see in the world. This is closely related to being a hypocrite, but it goes a little bit deeper than that. Let me tell you a little story. A little while ago, before I started recording this episode, I sent a few thousand dollars to an attorney to have him review one of my sales pages to ensure that it's fully compliant with various marketing laws.
That's a difficult task, for sure, because there are so many laws, and some of them even seem to contradict each other. I mean, how can you follow all of these? I mean, you follow one law and you might break another, and it's just ridiculous, right? But I try my best. I try my hardest to make sure that I am compliant by making it clear that success takes hard work, dedication and effort. No course, no program, not even my Inner Circle Newsletter, which I love, that's my baby, none of that stuff can fix all of your problems overnight.
I never want to give you that message, and truthfully, many coaches, consultants, gurus and agencies are making outrageous claims that are, quite frankly, and this is putting it nicely, in the gray area of the law. Like you obviously cannot get 6,000 new clients and four nanoseconds or less that many of these places imply. [04:10.7]

A long time ago, I remember this guy made fun of me because I had all of these disclaimers on my website. He basically said something like this. “How can someone who calls himself the Advisor Coach have so many disclaimers on his website? If he was really that good, then he wouldn't have to say those things.” I just shook my head. I couldn't believe that someone would say something that stupid because, wow, do you not understand that this is kinda sorta required by law? Besides, my disclaimers are more than mere disclaimers. They are the truth. I guarantee you that if you buy any program, not just my stuff, and you do nothing with it, then you won't get any results.
But anyway, that's not the point. This is not a disclaimer episode. My point is that when the attorney gave me his quote, I did not give him a bunch of objections, attempt to negotiate with him, “See, I can get it done cheaper somewhere else,” ghost him, subscribe to his email list for weeks on end, attempting to get some value without paying him anything. [05:12.4]

I also didn't listen to a hundred of his podcast episodes without giving him any money. Cough, cough. I know that some of you right now, cough, cough. Instead, I paid him. As soon as I saw his quote, I sent him an email saying, “Money sent. Thank you for all your help.” That's an exact quote. That is exactly what I said in the email. I said, “Money sent. Thank you for all your help.”
Pay attention. Not only did I send him money, but I thanked him for the opportunity to give him that money. I did this because that's what I want in my business. I want people to say, “Thank you, James, for letting me give you some money, because I'm confident you're going to improve my life.” I pay promptly. I don't bicker about prices. I'm loyal. I give referrals. I tried to do all of the things that I would want someone to do for my business, and I must say it's working pretty well for me so far. It's almost as if there's an entire book where the premise can be summed up in loving your neighbor and maybe that will make your life better. Huh, I wonder what book that would be. [06:09.8]

So, if you're a financial advisor and you're struggling to get clients, I suggest looking in the mirror to see if you are demonstrating the behavior you wish to see from your clients and prospective clients. Let me give you some more examples.
Some financial advisors want other people to invest their money, yet they're not willing to invest in themselves. Some financial advisors want to improve the sales part of their businesses, yet they get offended when people try to sell them. Heaven forbid, if you have something of value to offer the marketplace that can improve people's lives, because if you do, then you certainly can't sell it. Sigh.
One of the most common complaints I get about this podcast is that I sell in almost every episode, and to the people who say that, my response is you're gosh darn right I sell in almost every episode. I'm not exactly running a charity here. The reason I sell so hard on this show and in my emails, and in my blog posts and everywhere is because I know the tremendous value I bring to financial advisors' lives. I see it every day. [07:09.6]

Honestly, I’ve got to tell you the truth. I don't think I'm selling hard enough. I think I need to go even harder and I plan on going harder, because when you truly and passionately believe in what you're selling, then you have no problem shouting about it from the rooftops, and if you don't believe in what you're selling, you're only hurting yourself.
No. 3: You're on the outbound marketing hamster wheel. The number one piece of advice I can give to financial advisors is to have multiple marketing strategies. In fact, this is the very first thing I tell Inner Circle members in the very first bonus they get immediately after subscribing. It is so important that I put it at the tippity top of the list to make sure they get it. I want it to be the very first thing they see in the very first bonus.
Multiple marketing strategies is a philosophy. It goes much deeper than any one podcast episode and I can't possibly do it justice here, but I will tell you that one of the best ways to strengthen your existing marketing strategies is to add another marketing strategy into your mix. [08:15.0]

Let me give you an example. Let's say you're sending outbound messages on LinkedIn where you're just having a real conversation with people. You're not trying to be a robot. You're not operating from a spreadsheet. You're one of those people, you're gifted, right? You don't need a spreadsheet to put on your underwear. Guess what? Your LinkedIn headline follows you around, which means if people are interested, they can click to view your profile.
What's that? People clicking your profile and going to see you, coming to you, that's inbound marketing, because they're coming to you. But, see, a lot of that inbound marketing activity would not have happened without the outbound activity. Is that clear? I want to make that clear. I say that to tell you that outbound marketing is very important. I love outbound marketing. I teach it because I think that outbound marketing, I know outbound marketing gets you clients today, while inbound marketing gets you clients tomorrow. [09:09.7]

But outbound marketing cannot be all you do, because, eventually, you need to have marketing assets that gets you inbound leads, no matter what you're doing, so you can get off of that hamster wheel—which brings me to the fourth reason you might struggle to get clients forever, and that is you have no marketing assets.

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.

What is a marketing asset? If you're new to the show, you've never heard that term before, a marketing asset is similar to an asset like a piece of real estate or a dividend stock, in the sense that it will generate a return for you, no matter what you're doing. [10:01.5]

A few days ago, I got this massive dividend, oh, sweet, sweet dividend, from one of the ETFs in my portfolio. Guess what? I didn't attend a single board meeting. I didn't manage a single employee. I didn't deal with a single customer complaint from any of the companies in that ETF. Yet I still got paid because I own the asset. Marketing assets are things like your website, your landing pages, your email autoresponder sequence, your direct mail campaigns, your automated videos, your systems, your content, so much more. It's an entire universe by itself.
This podcast is a marketing asset for me. Tens of thousands of financial advisors will listen to this podcast episode while I'm out doing something else. I could be eating lunch. I could be working. I could be in the gym. I could be doing whatever. All I had to do was record this episode once and I have to record all the episodes one time, and the benefits will continue to roll in. That's similar to how I had to purchase the ETF one time and have the dividends roll in. [11:01.1]

I can choose to keep investing money. I can choose to let it sit. I can do whatever I want with it. I can sell it. It's all up to me. I could shut the whole thing down. In the case of this podcast, I am obviously choosing to add more episodes to make it stronger and stronger. That is like putting more money into the ETF so I can get bigger dividends down the road.
No. 5: You have no niche market. It's a running joke on this podcast that I tell you, you need to have a niche all the time, so I'm not going to say much about it here. I'll just tell you once again that having a niche makes everything easier. I also want to stress that if you're going to choose a niche, please, please make sure you can find people in that niche.
It's alarming to me how many times I've heard from financial advisors who say they’ve picked niches and then they ask me where I suggest they find people in that niche. That's one of the biggest reasons to choose a niche in the first place because you are uniquely qualified to find those people and help them. [12:00.1]

If you told me that I had to find a market for ballet dancers, I couldn't tell you where to begin. I would probably Google ballet dancers. I don't even know if that's what they're called. Maybe they're called something else. That's how little I know. I would try to do some research. I would try to go from there. I would put my heart into it. I would go hard, right? But someone who loves ballet and someone who has been involved in that world would crush me, because that person could list a hundred different places to try to find ballet dancers and immediately get to work. That's so important. I don't want that point to be lost.
No. 6: Your marketing is not aligned with your personality. I want to let you in on a little secret here. I think traditional lead generation companies are so dumb. I think there are a cancer upon the marketing industry and they prey upon desperate consumers who don't know where else to turn. I recently sent this email basically saying, “If you're broke, just say that,” because it's true. I mean, I see all these people who claim to be super successful, and I see your credit cards getting declined for $20. I see that, insufficient funds. Don't try to pretend you're something that you're not, right? [13:07.6]

This guy from the lead gen company who subscribed to my list, not the other way around, imagine that, responded back saying, “Unsubscribed.” I responded back to him saying, “Use the link at the bottom of the email like a good little boy.” Now, the reason I can do that and say stuff like that and get away with it is because I have set the expectation. I like to push the envelope with things that I say and do. If you presented a prim and proper image for years, and you tried to do the things that I do, then people would be appalled. They would be shocked. Yet I can do it and nobody bats an eye because I've set that expectation. That's a huge, huge marketing lesson.
Let me give you another example. Do you remember when it came out that Tiger Woods was sleeping with all of these women and basically just being a massive player? I think South Park did an episode about this where money is like an aphrodisiac or something. I don't remember all the details, but these men who have a bunch of money end up sleeping with a bunch of women. Like I said, I don't remember, but they did something like that. Anyway, the whole world was shocked that Tiger Woods was doing this. Why? Because Tiger Woods portrayed a certain image to the world and that was not it, right? [14:23.5]

Now let's talk about Charlie Sheen. Charlie Sheen had a bunch of problems with his show, Two and a Half Men. This was years ago. If you remember this, then you know what I'm talking about. He was out drinking and doing drugs and partying. And what did people do, at least in the beginning? They said, “Oh, that's just Charlie. That's the way he is,” and they didn't do a thing. Nobody cared because he set the expectation.
Your marketing can and should be aligned with your personality. That way you can put 100% of yourself into the work that you do. Imagine holding back every day and pulling your punches. How effective do you think that would be? Imagine a competitor who is 100% authentic and is just leaning into his personality every single day and being himself and just going to the moon with his personality, and you're holding back and you're not letting your personality shine, and you're pulling your punches and you're overthinking it and you're saying, “Oh, is this on brand or is this not on brand?” [15:17.0]

Your competitor wouldn't even think about that, because your competitor is the brand. Everything that a competitor does is the brand. He doesn't even have to think about it. He doesn't have to contemplate anything. He just does. Who do you think will win over the long run? So, really think about that. That probably should have been a podcast episode by itself so I could really give some more details, but that's an extremely important point.
No. 7, the final thing I want to share with you here is that you have no compelling value proposition. Your value proposition should tell people why they should do business with you, instead of the thousands of other financial advisors out there. It should also make the benefits of your services crystal clear. Unfortunately, a lot of advisors have very weak value props, here are some of the terms that get thrown around: [16:02.2]

“Nationally recognized,” and I guess it kinda sorta sounds impressive, but it doesn't paint a vivid picture of what it means to your clients and prospective clients. How does your having that recognition translate into them achieving their goals and getting what they want?
Another one is “comprehensive wealth management or financial planning,” and that is so overused. People don't know what comprehensive financial planning entails. It's pretty much meaningless. Imagine if you had to have heart surgery and your cardiologist said that she was going to provide comprehensive heart surgery. You would be like, Uh, yeah, that's the whole point. That's what I want. I want comprehensive heart surgery. I don't want an incomplete one.
You also have “fiduciary,” and the whole point of a value proposition is to help you stand out from everyone else. Thus, being a fiduciary is not a differentiator. It is nice to have. It's very good to have, but it should never be your value proposition. Some other things that I see are “more client-centric.” I mean, I would hope so. I hope you're client-centric. Or “we've got XYZ certifications.” So do thousands of other advisors. [17:09.8]

There's this study called Advisor Value Propositions. I talk about it all the time in the newsletter. I think it's required reading for financial advisors. The top-rated financial-advisor value propositions, they combined four things.
Attributes of the advisor firm.
Benefits to the client.
A rational argument.
An emotional component.
If only there was a certain person with a certain podcast who kept talking about emotion and how emotion increases conversions in ads and emails. You don't know anybody like that, do you?
In other words, you want to tell people a little bit about who you are, attributes of your firm, and how you help, then you want to back it up with a logical argument and you want to close with emotion. That is the secret sauce.
Unfortunately, many financial advisors struggle with creating a solid value proposition, even those in Barron's Top 100 advisors. There was this independent review that was done and it found that 26 of the top 100 independent financial-advisor websites claim to, and I quote, “provide a comprehensive portfolio management.” [18:12.4]

What did I just get done saying? The comprehensive stuff, like comprehensive heart surgery. So, 26% of them, or I guess it is 26% because 26 out of 100, but 26 of them use that exact phrase. Not a variation of it. Those exact words, “to provide comprehensive portfolio management.” It makes it sound so overused that it's practically meaningless, and maybe that's why according to the same study, 63% of investors think all financial advisors make the same promises, and they have trouble distinguishing between them.
So, what do you say in your value proposition? It depends on your niche. I mean, for example, did you know that people under the age of 40 prefer the word “advocate” to “fiduciary”? It's true. Did you know that the most important value statement for baby boomers is focused on capital preservation and income? [19:05.4]

That means if you're targeting baby boomers and you're talking about lifestyle or meeting their needs or planning, then you're probably missing the mark, because they want capital preservation. They want income. That is valuable to them, and a value proposition needs to propose value to your market. Ding, ding.
This is not difficult if you just sit down and think about what the heck you're doing, right? I think a lot of people just move too fast and they're so stressed out and life is just coming at them, and they could never really sit down and think, right? So, that is enough for one episode. Those are seven reasons why you might struggle to get clients forever. If you can invert those things, then you will likely find yourself running a better business and getting more clients than ever before.
Again, thank you so much for listening. I truly appreciate it, and I will catch you next week. [19:59.1]

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