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Who should you learn from when it comes to growing your business?
You could learn from all sorts of seminars, books and courses. And many of them are great.

But there’s a hidden treasure of knowledge you access when you’re able to learn business lessons from everyone and everything.

You’re not just learning more, you also make learning fun. Like when you can learn how to grow your business from Tony Soprano.

And that’s just what you’re getting in this episode. Listen now to find out what one of the most notorious gangsters in entertainment history can teach you about business and dominate your market, just like Tony Soprano.

Show highlights include:

  • The goal you always need to keep top of mind. (4:35)
  • How the “scarcity mentality” robs you of clients and turns opportunities into threats. (8:05)
  • Why you should reject (some) clients who want to give you their money. (8:25)
  • How to learn by not trying to learn anything. (16:25)

Go to the TheAdvisorCoach.com/Newsletter and pick up your free 90 minute download called “5 Keys to Success for Financial Advisors” when you join The James Pollard Inner Circle.

Ready to learn even more about becoming the successful financial advisor you know you can be? Check out these resources:




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: Hello and welcome to Financial Advisor Marketing. If you're a brand new listener, I'm glad to have you here. If you've been listening since day one, welcome back. I welcome you with open arms. This episode is going to be pretty fun. It's five business lessons that financial advisors can learn from Tony Soprano but there is one thing that I want to address. I have been getting a lot of emails from people who listen to this show who are apparently not on my email list, Jonathan.

Jonathan: What? How dare they? [0:01:00.0]

James: How are they? They hear me talk about sending emails and they want to get on my list. So what's been happening is I've been getting emails from people that I don't really know but although I'm glad to get to know them and introduce myself to them but they say, "Please add me to your list, please add me to your email list." Well, if that's you and I appreciate it, I really do. I mean it's nothing against people; it's just that there is a very easy way to opt in rather than having a back and forth and wasting your time and wasting my time. So if you want to get on the email list which is every day I send an email out, please go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/57 and there are two numbers 5, 7. So like 56, 57, 58, TheAdvisorCoach.com/57. It's a very bland page, it's got a single opt in which is "57 Marketing Tips for Financial Advisors" so put your email in there and you will begin receiving emails every single day even on the weekend sometimes twice on Sunday from me. Sound good, Jonathan? [0:01:59.1]

Jonathan: Yeah, man. Yeah man, that's what it's all about it isn't it to get that daily dose.

James: Daily dose of financial advisors marketing goodness so you can get more clients and less stress. So on to the episode and like I said it's going to be a fun episode because we are going to talk about the Sopranos. This episode will be helpful even if you never seen a single episode. So please don't shy away, don't X out of this podcast or hit pause simply because you never have seen the show. It doesn't really matter although I highly recommend it. I remember like when the movie Miracle came out about the 1980 hockey team. There were a lot of people who were in my social circle who were like I don't want to watch that movie because I'm not a hockey fan. I was like well you don't have to be a hockey fan just like with this you don't have to be a Sopranos fan or you don't even have to know anything about the Sopranos because I'm going to connect everything to financial advisors. I do want to warn you if you do decide to watch the Sopranos, there are a lot of F-bombs in it, a lot of S-bombs and a lot of GD-bombs, every bomb you can think of. [0:02:59.7]
This is a pretty big deal back in the day, actually it's kind of tame compared to some of the stuff on TV now. Jonathan, do you watch Game of Thrones at all?

Jonathan: I have not watched this season, I buy it at the end of the season so don't go spoiling it.

James: I'm not going to spoil it. What I will tell you is that a few weeks ago, I got suckered into watching it and I have never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones and I started watching it and ... I'm not going to spoil it for you but one of the episodes; there is just a lot of violence in it. I mean this is no shock to you if you have seen it before but that kind of stuff is much, much worse than the Sopranos. That kind of makes the Sopranos look tame and if you want to watch it, make sure you check it out. You'll be watching the actor James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano. I personally believe he was absolutely perfect for that role. I don't think there was anyone else who is better suited for that role than him. It's pretty sad because he passed away at a young age. I mean he was only 51 when he died. [0:04:02.4]
But people love this guy so much that even the governor of New Jersey showed up to his funeral and all the flags in New Jersey, they were flown at half staff that day, Jonathan.

Jonathan: No kidding, for Gandolfini, hey?

James: Mhh hhm. They loved this guy. So what I want to do is I want to connect some lessons that you can learn from Tony Soprano to the financial advisor marketing world. The very first lesson is that Tony never forgets that the goal is to make money. That's his mission. He stays focused on his business endeavors. He doesn't get distracted by all the other stuff. Financial advisors, they need to have a clear goal. They need to stay focused on it just like Tony Soprano did. Lots of financial advisors say they want to make more money, they talk a lot, they give a lot of lip service to this, but then they waste their time doing other stuff. Words don't matter; actions matter. [0:05:01.1]
What you do that matters. Let me ask you, Jonathan, how's your sleep tracking going?

Jonathan: Oh God, you ask me today of all days. I got like a 60 on my sleep.

James: Oooh I can't even remember the last time I got a 60 but more power to you. You see Jonathan is taking action to improve his life because he's improving his sleep quality. So I imagine at some level, Jonathan the goal for you was to improve your health or improve your sleep, correct?

Jonathan: Better sleep was what I wanted. This has sent me down a rabbit hole and I kind of hate you a little bit for it.

James: Mhh hhm. So yeah, it is kind of tough once you get suckered into that rabbit hole. You're kind of like, "I have to do this" or there is this little sexy tip or hack. There are fundamental things you can do – going to bed at the same time, not having caffeine but you have a goal and you work on it.

Jonathan: I have to ask you – I don't care that it's not part of this show but like how much deep sleep do you get per night?

James: Two to three hours.

Jonathan: Good God, man.

James: Here is the thing; I don't want to send a message that... [0:06:01.4]
Well, anyone can get more deep sleep but let me preface this by saying that some people are more geared towards deep sleep than others and we are really getting down a rabbit hole here but if you get your genetics tested through like 23 and Me, one of the things that they explain is whether or not you have a genetic predisposition to being a light sleeper or a deep sleeper. I personally, I have been blessed with a genetic disposition to sleep deeply.

Jonathan: It explains a lot.

James: My deep sleep is not indicative of an average – it's part of a genetic blessing, I guess and then part habit and what I have done. I actually struggle with REM sleep and that's actually a blessing too because if you have too much REM sleep your brain could be foggy. You could wake up rested technically but you still have brain fog and you're not really thinking clearly because REM sleep takes up a lot of your brain's energy. [0:07:03.2]

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: So, I personally struggle with REM sleep. It seems like every single night I have a high score on everything; latency, deep sleep, everything but REM sleep. That's personally what I struggle with but...

Jonathan: I took you way off track, I knew it. Sorry about that.

James: It is what it is. On to number two from Tony Soprano, this is another lesson you can learn from Tony, Tony, Tony. He provides a clear structure. He's the boss. I know that there is some confusion at the beginning of the show. If you watch it or have watched it before, there is some confusion because people really don’t know if it's him or if it's Junior but eventually he breaks through and let's everyone know that he is the one running the show. As a financial advisor, you have to do that same thing. It's not just with our employees either. You have employees, it's not just with them. You have to do that same thing with your clients. You have to realize that you are the scarce resource. [0:08:00.4]
You can always go out and get more clients but there is only one of you. Too many financial advisors operate with a scarcity mentality. They think that there aren't enough clients to go around. It's not true. These financial advisors, they freak out if they lose one client and they can't stand the thought of having a prospect walk away. My philosophy is you should have so many prospects in your pipeline that you can afford to let some go. You should have so many clients that it doesn't matter – literally does not matter if you lose some of them. You can keep operating. I try to operate my business that same way Jonathan. I try to get so many financial advisors coming through the door. I try to get so many financial advisors listening to this podcast that if one has a little attitude or does not believe me or gives me a rough time, I say, "Hey, don't let the door hit you on the way out." Not everybody likes that. Not everybody likes that, Jonathan.

Jonathan: But the people that do love it, don't they?

James: They do. And actually, I don't know if you have checked out the reviews for this podcast, Jonathan, but it looks like top is getting reviews and the bottoms is getting reviews. [0:09:06.2]

Jonathan: Really?

James: Mhh hhm. Yeah, I am getting one star reviews and I’m getting five star reviews. I mean I have not checked in like a week but it seems like there is not really any two, three, or four star reviews. Either people love me or they hate me and you can see that in the podcast reviews.

Jonathan: Fun.

James: It hurts sometimes to get the one star review or negative review but you have to realize that it's not connected with your business. Because the people who are leaving negative reviews, the people who are saying bad things, probably aren't going to do business anyway. If they did do business, they would give you a hard time. They would be difficult to deal with, they would complain, they would whine, moan, bellyache and you don't want that. It's kind of like with financial advisors when they approach a prospect and the prospect says something like, "I don't have any money saved for retirement" or "I don't believe in financial planning." You don't want to fight that uphill battle. You don't want to try to convince this person on the merits of what you're doing. You're just going to be banging your head against the wall. [0:10:04.9]
If someone says that do you really feel rejected? If someone rejects the merits of financial planning or they say, "I'm just going to play the lottery that's my retirement plan."

Jonathan: Scratch offs.

James: Scratch off tickets? Give me five of those number 20s. I mean do you really feel rejected by this person? Get real. It blows my mind.
Jonathan: You're doing them a favor, right? I mean they just told you upfront don't waste your time with me.
Hey financial advisors, are you ready to take your business to the next level and get more clients with less stress? I invite you to join the James Pollard Inner Circle of Paper and Ink Newsletter that gets delivered directly to your door every month. When you join now you'll also get a 90-minute instant download called, "Five Keys to Success for Financial Advisors", a $97 value for absolutely free. All you have to do is head over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/newsletter and join today.

James: Bingo! They did you a favor. When they say that type of stuff you just walk away and take them out of your pipeline. [0:11:05.3]

Replenish them; there are more people out there. You are the scarce resource. There are more prospects that you can ever get. If you don't believe me, just go to LinkedIn, type in an occupation that you want to target as a niche, there are thousands and thousands and thousands. It would take a huge amount of time for you to get through all of these people and that's how you're operating your business. Tony Soprano understands that. He know that there is more business out there; more opportunities, more waste management as he says in the show than he can deal with. Now next lesson and I think this is really important but this is pretty difficult to actually operate with in the real world and it's that Tony wants feedback to his face. He does not want people talking behind his back. This is important because you want constructive criticism wherever you can get it. Don't get offended. Don't take this stuff personally. If it's truly constructive criticism and not people complaining and whining and bellyaching, if it's really constructive, you want it wherever you can get it. [0:12:08.8]

So encourage your friends, your colleagues, your prospects, your clients to give you feedback. You want to figure out how you're doing. You want to send your tentacles out there, your antennae there to figure out what you're doing well; what you're not doing well and if you're doing something wrong you don't want to keep doing it. That's why you want this feedback. I try to do that same thing in my own life. I mean I'm trying to tie this back to me practicing what I preach because it's an important point to have. I send out surveys. I talk with my customers. Inner Circle members have my direct email line. They can get in touch with me whenever they want, they can ask me anything that I'm qualified to answer and I have my tentacles/antennae have them directly on the pulse of my financial advisors. I'm constantly getting feedback. People send me emails about ideas for the show, Jonathan, and I take it to heart. Thank you, thank you very much, I do appreciate it. I am open to feedback. [0:13:04.8]

I want to make my product as good as possible. I want to make this podcast as good as possible. I can't do that without feedback. I understand but most people don't want feedback. They just put themselves behind this wall, they put up their guard, they wrap themselves in their comfort zone, and they avoid all types of feedback. It's what you don’t want to do because you can't improve and even if you try to improve you're just guessing. You're making assumptions about what other people want. You're not using evidence whether it's hard data or whether it's antidotal evidence about people saying maybe you should discuss more deep sleep stuff on the podcast. If somebody sent me an email saying that and they gave me a legitimate reason, I would probably do half an episode talking about deep sleep. I mean just being real with you.

Jonathan: I'll get my other email address fired up.

James: Yeah, my name is Not Jonathan and I'm asking about deep sleep. Moving on... [0:14:03.4]

Jonathan: "Say it to my face", right, Tony Soprano.

James: "Say it to my face" if you want some deep sleep stuff, send me an email. We want feedback to our faces. Number four, and this is important too; all five of them are important but I need to practice this one. It is that Tony Soprano sits back and relaxes sometimes. So yeah, he's out there doing his thing and getting his money, running his operation, but he also takes time to just chill. I mean whether it's home by the pool or at his favorite restaurant or little pastry shop. He just gives himself time to de-stress. I really should take this advice. I don't relax as much as I should so maybe I need to do that. Although maybe I am doing something right because I'm getting a lot of deep sleep.

Jonathan: Yeah, I know. I'm thinking the same thing, you bastard.

James: Maybe working hard gives me those results. Now I don't think you should ever sit back and rest on your laurels. [0:15:03.4]

There is a difference. You're going to relax, you're going to de-stress, you're going to chill out for some time, but that does not mean resting on your laurels. Because there are some financial advisors that make a couple hundred thousand dollars, and they are like, "I'm good, yeah, this is the American dream" and whatever justification they have to stop growing that is what they do. It's heartbreaking because by the time, you get to like mid-six figures as a financial advisor, you have got the stuff. You got the juice, man. You have the infrastructure in place, you got the people skills in place, you got a solid base of clients that can be a referral machine for you, you probably got a solid marketing budget in place and so for those people, Jonathan, to rest on their laurels when they have got everything they need to grow, to catapult their success is absolutely heartbreaking; absolutely heartbreaking.

Jonathan: It depends on who you are. If you're their competitor, you're pretty happy.

James: Absolutely. You would be thrilled that these people would just rest. [0:16:05.6]

We're going to talk about that in a future podcast episode. It's going to be like five or six episodes down the line. I've got it in the back of my mind some things that you could do to outsmart your competitors, outfox your competitors and one of the things actually is just what we are talking about right now. You want to take some time to de-stress because that's when the ideas come to you – when you just get away, when you relax for a little bit. You have these insights. You have these breakthroughs. I know I mentioned off the air to Jonathan that I just got done traveling. I've been all around the East coast for the past three weeks. I have gotten more ideas in the past three weeks than I have gotten in all 2019 so far. So that's what happens when you take a step back. Now like I said, don' rest on your laurels but you should take some time every now and then to think about everything you've accomplished and let yourself relax to get these ideas. [0:17:03.0]

Number five, the fifth business lesson you can learn from Tony Soprano as a financial advisor is that Tony understands the importance of relationships because strong relationships are great assets in business. This is especially true for financial advisors because forming the right relationships, it's like pouring gasoline on a fire and that fire is your business. Perhaps the most important relationship that a financial advisor can form is a relationship with a CPA or multiple CPAs I should say and that's because accountants have such a high level of trust with their clients, financial advisors can just walk in and help those clients with their money, with their investments assuming they have built trust with the CPA. CPAs are perhaps the single most important referral resource that financial advisors can have because forming good relationships with CPAs – it's how you take a good financial advisory business and turn it into a great financial advisory business. Shameless plug – it's also why I offer – there 's a bonus – it's a 38 minute video training called, "How to Get Referrals from CPAs" and that's an absolutely bonus when get the "51 Referral Marketing Tips" product. [0:18:10.6]

If you're interested in that go to TheAdvisorCoach.com click on the products tab and you'll see all of my products and one of them will be "51 Referral Marketing Tips for Financial Advisors". So those are all the things – well not all the things I should say – these are five of the things I've learned from Tony Soprano himself. Like I said the Sopranos is my favorite show of all time. I believe you can learn from everyone no matter who they are. I remember I mentioned Donald Trump in an Inner Circle newsletter – well not just the newsletter itself but in the emails leading up to it – like the promo emails, Jonathan, and people got so upset.

Jonathan: I bet.

James: It's a signal that these people can't learn from everyone and that's a huge disadvantage. I mentioned this in an earlier podcast episode about living in Upper Delaware and Lower Delaware how it's given me an open-mind because I've been around all of these people. [0:19:02.9]

That's kind of what you need in life because the minute people hear a certain name, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton now these are just political ones but there are other ones like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, they have biases and tons of them. They either shut their minds off or they open their minds a little bit too much and they take everything this person says as gospel. So you got to be careful because there is evil on both sides. But anyway the people that got really upset, they were not Inner Circle members.

Jonathan: Shocking.

James: The Inner Circle members who read this stuff about Donald Trump and it actually talks about his handshake and certain psychology things about how he operates, they responded favorably. I had people say, "I'm stanch Democrat, I've been voting Democrat my whole life", more power to you. I'm not a Republican or Democrat either way but she said, "I absolutely love the piece that you did on Donald Trump and I'm going to apply it to my business." So you want to keep an open mind and it can help your business. The lessons from Tony Soprano: never forget your goal; keep a clear structure; get feedback – you want constructive criticism, and then you want to relax from time to time and then you want to understand the importance of good business relationships. [0:20:15.4]
So go back and listen to this again if you didn't get all five of those. Make sure you let it sink in and it will improve your business.

Jonathan: Okay, what do you have coming up next time?

James: Next time, I'm going to talk about what's called "gun to the head marketing" and I think we're going to call this episode, "What I Would Do If I Had to Get More Clients". So this is "gun to the head marketing" stuff, Jonathan.

Jonathan: Oh man, can't wait.

James: I was inspired by some of the old copywriters who talked about "gun to the head marketing" and it meant that if they had a gun to their head what would they do to write a sales piece which got a response so what I want to do is I want to take that same idea and I want to talk about if someone put a gun to my head and dropped me off in a new city where I didn't know anyone what would I do to get more clients as a financial advisor. [0:21:03.1]
That's what we are going to talk about.

Jonathan: Yeah, cannot wait. Another Financial Advisors Marketing podcast is in the can, we will be back in your earbuds next time. Thanks for tuning in.

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