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I’m acting like a mad scientist in this episode:

I’m attempting to form the perfect financial advisor based on the HEXACO personality typing test.


Because some financial advisors should, frankly, try something else. There are several crucial personality traits that all the top financial advisors have.

But more importantly, there are many financial advisors who shy away from their true personality because they don’t realize it gives them a bona fide competitive edge.

Plus, you’ll see how you can base your marketing strategy and business plan around your personality, so you reap the competitive-nuking rewards of it.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The most important attribute on the HEXACO personality test (4:08)
  • How taking a HEXACO personality test will make you a wealthier financial advisor by the end of this episode (5:32)
  • Want to improve your marketing but manipulating people makes you recoil? Listen to this… (7:46)
  • The weird reason financial advisors who can’t tolerate physical pain aren’t as successful on average (11:57)
  • The equally weird reason anxious financial advisors are more success on average (13:05)
  • Why public speaking is a “force multiplier” for the growth of any financial advisor (16:23)
  • The single easiest way to solve any marketing problem (and why many financial advisors struggle with this) (22:53)

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: Last week, I started talking about the HEXACO personality test and how I think all financial advisors should take it and study their results. The reason I think this is so important is because financial advisors should lean into their strengths. They should lean into their personalities. The example I gave was that instead of getting a fish to fly, you should just let it swim as well as possible. Get that fish to swim. [00:55.5]

Also, while we're on the topic of personality, it looks like this podcast episode is scheduled to come out on February 26, which means there are only a few days left to lock in your spot for the March 2024 Inner Circle Newsletter issue, because that will ship out on March 1. You do not want to miss this. The past few issues of the newsletter have been amazing. This one will be no different.
If you're not already an Inner Circle member, you can join us over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching. It is by far the best thing I offer and it gives financial advisors an insane amount of value relative to the $99 per month it, quote-unquote, “costs.” However, it is designed to appeal only to advisors with a certain type of personality, namely the advisors who are diligent, serious, committed and who want to improve their businesses. People who are nonchalant about growing and building are the ones who should not subscribe.
But enough about that. Let me give you a recap of the six HEXACO domains. They are honesty and humility, so this is the “H” part. People with very high scores on this scale, they avoid manipulating others for personal gain. They feel a little temptation to break rules. They feel no special entitlement to elevate their social status. [02:07.4]

If you're a wealthy person who ranks highly in this, then you don't expect to be treated any differently. If you have low “H”, then you might expect people to cater to you or bow down to you because of your wealth. If you're a low-“H” person, you will likely flatter people for personal gain. You'll be more inclined to break the rules of life in business, and you'll feel a strong sense of self-importance. We're going to talk about all of this stuff. I'm going to break down the scales from each domain.
Next we have emotionality. That is the “E” of HEXACO. People with high emotionality, they're fearful. They're anxious. They feel a need to support others because they feel a need to be supported and they want to give that to others. That's a really complex topic. They're empathetic. They form strong bonds with others. The people with low emotionality, they're not as anxious. They don't worry as much, but they also don't really feel as strong of a need to form bonds. They feel more detached from others. [03:01.5]

Then you have extraversion. Extroverted people, they feel positively about themselves. They feel confident when they're leading or addressing groups of people. They enjoy social gatherings. They like to just be with people. But introverts consider themselves unpopular. Not always, right? But I'm talking about the scales here. I'm going to dig deep into this. They feel awkward when they're the center of attention. They're indifferent to social activities. They aren't as lively. They're not as optimistic.
All of this stuff is on a scale, right? You could be an introvert who likes public speaking, but you're still not very enthusiastic, right? So, you tip the scale in favor of introversion despite liking to speak in public. None of this stuff is absolute, so don't think that I'm saying this is the way it's going to be forever and ever and always. It's just not.
Then you have agreeableness. Agreeable people, they forgive others. They're lenient in judging others. They're willing to compromise. They're willing to cooperate. People with low agreeableness, they hold grudges. They are critical of other people. They’re stubborn. They get angry easily, and they're just not as friendly or as cooperative. [04:08.6]

Then you have conscientiousness. That is the “C” in HEXACO. People who are very conscientious, they are organized. They are disciplined. They are accurate. They're perfectionists. They deliberate carefully when making decisions. People who are low on the conscientious part of the HEXACO, they don't do any of that stuff. They're unconcerned with their surroundings. They take the easy way out. They are not as persistent. They are sloppy.
I would say that this is the most important dimension out of all of them on the HEXACO. It is really difficult to succeed in most environments if you are not a conscientious person. You might be able to get by, but it's unlikely that you will be a top 1% performer and most things.
Then we have the “O” in HEXACO, which is openness to experience. People who are open to experience become absorbed in beauty and art and nature. They're inquisitive. They use their imagination in everyday life. They take an interest in people. They just want to do stuff. They want to see the world. In a marketing context, these people, because they're creative and they're inquisitive, they are more likely to run split tests. They're more likely to try new things to grow their businesses. [05:18.2]

People who rank low in openness to experience, they don't like art. They're not very creative. They don't feel that intellectual curiosity, and they feel a little attraction to unconventional ideas, so they are conformists.
Now, that is just the tip of the iceberg, because there are various scales that make up each of these domains. What I want to do is I want to go through each of the scales, and I want to explain how they can help or hurt a financial advisor who wants to grow his or her business. If you have not taken the HEXACO personality test already, I strongly suggest that you do so, because if you have your test results in front of you, you will be able to go through each of these scales and domains, and you can think about how to use your strengths to help you grow. [06:02.1]

I want you to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. I want you to lean into your personality and amplify it. In last week's episode, I talked about how I couldn't even come close to Michael Jordan's basketball talent, even if I work twice as hard as he did. The same idea holds true in business and marketing. If you work hard and you have a natural propensity for something that most people will not be able to touch you, that will be your competitive advantage. I want you to make the most of that. Again, I repeat myself, I highly recommend having your HEXACO results in front of you as you listen to this podcast episode, so you can compare yourself against what I think would make the perfect financial advisor.
By the way, what I think would make the perfect financial advisor is just my opinion. It is what I think you are entitled to your opinion. You can believe whatever it is that you want to believe, but you're listening to the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. This is my show. I'm going to give you my opinion. You can take notes. You can jot down anything that you would want to do to improve your business. Let's begin. [07:02.0]

First, we have the “H” part. That's the honesty-humility domain, and that is made up of sincerity, fairness, greed-avoidance, and modesty. Again, if you have your results in front of you, you will see the domain honesty-humility, and then under that you will see those four things.
Let's start. If you are not a sincere person, that means you'll flatter people. You'll pretend to like them in order to obtain favors. Highly- sincere people will not manipulate others to get what they want. This is the classic “Does this dress make me look fat?” response. If you are someone who has a clever, well-thought-out answer to that question in order to keep the peace or make people happy, or your wife happy or whoever, then you probably do not rank very high in sincerity.
Now, to be fair, I think all of sales and marketing has a drop of manipulation in it. I just like to think accurately. I'm not naïve. I'm not just going to sit here and say, Oh, no, it's not manipulative at all, because it absolutely is. I don't think that someone who is 100% focused on manipulating others will succeed, because, eventually, that person will be called and/or people will see right through him or her. [08:09.0]

However, someone who doesn't want to manipulate at all will have a hard time with marketing, because marketing is getting people to do what you want. It's like a dance, and it shouldn't be malicious. I'm not saying it's malicious. I think “manipulate” has a negative connotation, because people just think of it that way, but some of the synonyms in the dictionary, if you actually look this up, you’ll see that “manipulate” means operate, handle and control. At some level, you have to control the situation in order to get people to hire you as their financial advisor. So, I would want the perfect financial advisor to rank in between low and average in sincerity.
Fairness is about the tendency to avoid fraud and corruption. Low scorers are willing to gain for themselves by cheating or stealing, but high scorers are unwilling to take advantage of other individuals or the society at large. I would want someone to rank highly on this because I don't think there's a place for cheating or stealing in business. So, rank highly in fairness. If you do that thing, fantastic, that's good for you. [09:13.2]

Greed-avoidance. This assesses a tendency to be uninterested in possessing lavish wealth, luxury goods and signs of high social status. Low scorers want to enjoy and to display wealth and privilege, while high scorers are not motivated by luxury goods and social-status considerations. I have to say, I don't really think it makes a difference for financial advisors, but I think a low score can be dangerous when mixed with low scores elsewhere, like low fairness.
Someone who wants luxury goods and high social status, and is also willing to cheat and steal, is a lot more dangerous, in my opinion, than someone who wants luxury goods but doesn't have as much of that desire to cheat or steal, because that person will want luxury goods and will work hard for them rather than try to get them the easy way. [10:01.0]

Finally, we have modesty, which is the last part of the “H” section of the HEXACO. It's all about the tendency to be unassuming or modest, like, How modest are you? A low score means you're not modest and a high score means you are modest, so you view yourself as an ordinary person with no claims to special treatment.
Again, I'm thinking like a mad scientist here, where I'm attempting to form the perfect financial advisor. I think that people prefer modesty and they appreciate it. I would prefer for a financial advisor to have a high score here, I would prefer for a financial advisor to be modest. When I took the HEXACO, I got the lowest score possible, so I am in the first percentile. That means 99% of people are more modest than I am. I know, I know, bad James, bad James. But I'm working on it. I'm trying to improve myself. [10:51.0]

I think a big reason why I am not modest is because I live and operate in a world that can be objectively measured, meaning, if the top 1% of income earners earn $650,000 per year, and then I'm either earning that or earn enough to put me in the top 1%, or I'm not. If the average click-through rate on a marketing campaign is 2%, then I am either objectively average or I'm not. In the marketing world, I am objectively at the tippity top of many things. My viewpoint is why would I be modest when I know I can back it up?
But just being honest with you, if I could wave a magic wand and make myself more modest, I would. I know that people prefer modesty. I know they appreciate it, so if I could just wave that magic wand, that is something I would change about myself. But it's a personality trait, and depending on the science that you read, it's anywhere from 40–60% biological so that you can improve it, yes, and you can change it and tweak it, but only so much, right?
Next we have the emotionality domain, which consists of fearfulness, anxiety, dependence and sentimentality. Fearfulness measures how you experience beer. A low score here means you're relatively tough, you're brave, and you're insensitive to physical pain. A high score means you're afraid of physical pain and harm. [12:10.6]

I am pretty much smack dab in the middle. I don't think physical pain matters that much for financial advisors, I mean, unless your clients are coming in and slapping you across the face, although I do feel like getting rejected can feel like physical pain. For that reason, I would want my perfect financial advisor to be below average on this, so more of a lower score. That way, he or she could push through the pain. That person could prospect. That person could market. That person could take the unsubscribes and the rejections, and the hang ups and all that stuff, without feeling much pain. [12:42.0]

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.

Anxiety is about being anxious and worrying. A low score means you don't worry a lot. A high score means you do. There's actually a lot of research here that suggests that people with anxiety are actually more likely to be successful, not less, and there are lots of reasons for this. One is because their anxiety gets them to think of ways to improve their situations. Another is that they're able to anticipate the worst case scenarios for things and avoid problems. Both of these are good. But I also wouldn't want a financial advisor to be so anxious that he or she couldn't take any action and 's just frozen in place, so I would like to see an advisor rank near the middle of the anxiety scale.
Dependence is about how much you need emotional support from other people. If you have a low score, then you don't need validation from others and you can pretty much chart your own course. If you have a high score, then you want people to validate you and help you, and provide encouragement and just give you a pat on the back and hold your hand, like, You go girl, good job. [14:01.8]

I would want a low score here because successful people have to do things even when they don't get any outside validation. Nobody's patting me on the back and saying, “Good job, James,” right? I have to go hard every single day and push through and deal with stuff, right? And so do successful entrepreneurs and successful financial advisors. So, a low score on the dependent scale of this domain.
Then we have sentimentality. That's about feeling strong emotional bonds with others. People with low scores, they feel a little emotion when saying goodbye or in reaction to the concerns of others. They just don't have that bond, right? People with high scores, they form strong emotional attachments. I think being average to high on this is a good thing for financial advisors, because it is a relationship business. You want to be able to build real connections with your clients, so you don't want to be at the bottom of this scale where you cannot form emotional bonds with other people because it's just not going to work out well for you. [14:57.0]

Next, we're moving on to the “X” part of the HEXACO. We've done “H” and “E.” Now we're doing X, which is extraversion. It is made up of social self-esteem, social boldness, sociability, and liveliness. Social self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. If you have a low score on this scale, then you think you're worthless. If you have a high score, then you're satisfied with yourself, and I think having a high score is pretty critical. I will place this near the top in terms of importance, because you have to think of yourself as an important person in order to promote and market yourself in society.
Why in the world, would you ask strangers to hire you if you think you're a worthless person? Why would you ask people to pay money to get something that's worthless? If you think highly of yourself, then you're more likely to place value on working with you and your business, so this is pretty important. You really need to rank highly on this.
Next, we have social boldness. This is about your competence in social situations. People who score low on this, they tend to be shy. They tend to be awkward. They don't want to speak with others, especially in public. People who score high on this, they're willing to approach strangers. They're willing to speak up in group settings. So, pretty much the opposite, right? With all of these scales, you have low and high, and they are pretty much the opposite. [16:14.1]

I actually rank right in the middle of this scale, but if I were designing the perfect financial advisor, then I would have him or her rank very high on this, because speaking to people is a great way to open doors for you and you can network with people, and speaking in public is a way to use both leverage and scale, which can grow your business quite a bit. I would say, the perfect financial advisor would be someone who is very socially bold.
Next, we have sociability. This is about enjoying conversation and social interaction. You're just a sociable person, right? If you're not sociable, then you want to be alone. You don't like talking to people. When I got my HEXACO result, it turns out that 90% of people are more sociable than I am. Imagine that. That kind of hurts. [16:58.1]

So, the perfect financial advisor—again, this is just my opinion and my opinion only—should rank highly in this, because a big part of the job is talking with people and being sociable. If your personality is set up in such a way that you naturally enjoy conversation and it’s something you want to do, then it will be much easier for you to build and grow.
Then we have liveliness. That's all about enthusiasm and energy. Generally speaking, I would want the perfect financial advisor to be enthusiastic and optimistic and energetic, so a high score here is preferred.
Alright, we're actually moving right along. We're making great progress on here. Next, we have the “A” part of the HEXACO, which is agreeableness, and agreeableness consists of forgivingness, gentleness, flexibility, and patience.
Forgivingness assesses your willingness to trust people who have hurt you. If you have a low score, then you're someone who can hold a grudge. You do not forgive people. If you have a high score, then you're usually ready to trust others again and you can be friendly, even after you've been treated badly. [18:01.0]

Generally speaking, people who can forgive others tend to be happier and just better adjusted, right? The entire Christian religion is based on forgiving others. I think if you can master forgiveness, then you can master a lot of things in life, so I would prefer for people to rank high on this. The perfect financial advisor would be a forgiving person, not necessarily because the advisor would just forgive everyone who did bad things to that advisor—I get that. That can help you—but simply because being a forgiving person is indicative of other positive traits in one's life. Okay, I hope that makes sense. I hope that I explained that well.
Gentleness is how lenient you are when dealing with other people. If you have a low score on this, you're probably really harsh. You're really critical. If you have a high score, then you give people a lot of slack. You're not so harsh. I would actually want my perfect financial advisor to be in the middle here because while I think it's important to not be super critical as a financial advisor, because if you're very critical, then people won't feel comfortable with you. They won't want to give you referrals or anything, and they will be hesitant. They won't want to work with you, right? I mean, it's that simple. [19:08.6]

But I also think you need standards. You need to make sure people aren't walking all over you, and that you cut people off, if they break your rules. Too much, leniency is a bad thing, in my opinion, but so is too little leniency.
Flexibility means how willing are you to compromise and to cooperate with others. Low scores are stubborn. You're willing to argue. High scores mean that you're someone who avoids arguments. You accommodate other people. Again, I think you need to be in the middle on this as well, because you need to have standards. Being totally inflexible isn't a good thing, but being super accommodating to everyone no matter what isn't a good thing either.
From a marketing and business-building perspective, you want to have standards and you want to enforce them, but you also want to be a human being who can work with other human beings, and have a real relationship with them and just appreciate them, and form bonds and all that. I would put the perfect financial advisor right in the middle of flexibility, too. [20:09.4]

The last scale in the agreeableness domain is patience. I think having a high score here is a good thing because it means you are a patient person, and I think it's good from a marketing perspective, because, quite frankly, some marketing strategies take a long time to work. If you're not a patient person, then you might give up before you see results, so patience is preferred.
Okay, moving on to the next part of the HEXACO, which is conscientiousness. This is my favorite part and I think it is “the” most important domain. It's made up of organization, diligence, perfectionism, and prudence. I'm just going to tell you straight up that the perfect financial advisor would rank highly on all of these, except for maybe perfectionism. Even in perfectionism, I would want a high score, but I wouldn't want it so high that the advisor never takes action. So, maybe I wouldn't max out perfection, but I would still have it pretty darn high. [21:00.8]

Organization is all about seeking order. People who aren't very organized likely don't have clean lists, which you should have. They likely don't have good systems, which you should have, or any of the basic things that are required to run a business smoothly.
Diligence is about working hard. People who rank highly in the diligence scale, have strong work ethic.
Perfectionism is about being concerned with details, and you can see how important that is when crafting financial plans and giving financial advice to people with complex situations. You kind of sort of have to pay attention to the details.
Finally, prudence is about deliberation and impulse control. People with low prudence scores, they will act on impulse and not consider the consequences of their actions, which is not a good thing.
Conscientiousness is so important. I cannot say that enough. You definitely want high scores here. The perfect financial advisor would rank very highly in all of these scales.
Last but not least, we have the “O” part of the HEXACO, which is openness to experience. That's made up of aesthetic appreciation, inquisitiveness, creativity, unconventionality, and altruism. [22:10.0]

Aesthetic appreciation assesses how much you enjoy art and beauty. I don't really think it's related that much to financial advice and marketing, so I don't even want to give an opinion here.
Inquisitiveness is how curious you are. Highly-inquisitive people read a lot. They travel a lot. They're like sponges, soaking up everything. The perfect financial advisor should rank highly on inquisitiveness, but not so high that he or she is constantly bouncing from one thing to another. You don't want to be so inquisitive that you're not satisfied with the things you learn. You want to read a lot, yes, but you also want to slow down sometimes and apply what you're reading before moving on to the next thing. Really inquisitive people struggle with that. So, you should have a high score, but not max it up.
Creativity is about innovating and experimenting. Low scorers will have little inclination for original thought there. They don't think of ideas on their own. They're not creative. But high scorers will seek new solutions to problems. They will figure things out by themselves. I would want to see a high score here, because a lot of marketing problems can be solved with a little creativity. [23:13.5]

Unconventionality is about how much you conform. By definition, I want you to get this, by definition, successful people do not conform, so I would want to see a high score here, too. But, again, not so high, because if you max it out, then other people likely perceive you as weird. You still want to be able to work with people and not have them brush you off as too eccentric or a weirdo, or something like that. So, you want to be unconventional, but you don't want to max out the scale.
Then the last scale of the entire HEXACO is altruism. This assesses the tendency to be sympathetic and soft-hearted towards others. If you're an altruistic person, then you want to do things for others and only for others and not for yourself. The perfect financial advisor would likely rank in the middle of this, because on one hand, you should genuinely want to help people and make a difference in their lives, and if you're a fiduciary, then, yes, you have to put their interests above your own. That is Altruism 101. [24:10.6]

On the other hand, you're not running a charity, so you have to set some boundaries. Quite frankly, it’s impractical to give up everything that you have to help others. You have to run a business. You have to build your life. You have to put your oxygen mask on first. Even if you did give up everything to help others, you likely wouldn't be able to help them as much as you could if you built a successful business first, made a lot of money first, and then started directing your resources to helping others.
I know that's a lot. I threw a lot at you. This is definitely an episode that you want to listen to again and again and again with your results in front of you, and you want to track your progress over time. This wraps up the two-part series about personality types of successful financial advisors and how I would play a mad scientist building the perfect financial advisor from the ground up. I think this is one of the most valuable podcast episodes I've ever done. It is so good, different from anything else in the marketing space right now, and I hope it got you thinking about some ways to improve your business and your marketing.
Thank you so much for listening. I had a blast doing this, and I'll catch you next week. [25:13.3]

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