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Have you noticed that your marketing is a little off or you’re not getting your fair share of new business and opportunities? You might be trapped in a boring marketing process. In this episode of the Truest Fan podcast, I have a wonderful conversation about making your marketing fun with Seth Greene.
Seth is a best-selling author, podcast host, and founder of HowToFindMoneyForCollege.com. He has vast knowledge and experience in both marketing and the financial advice space.
For marketing to become truly effective, it’s necessary to create a great referral culture where clients naturally refer regularly and bring new people to your business. However, most advisors fail to make deeper connections and go straight into offering their products and services.
Finding out what matters most with your clients and taking advantage of this information sets your marketing on the right course. It keeps your marketing from becoming boring and transactional and transforms it into a fun conversation where clients feel that they’re valued.
Learn more about how you can make marketing less boring and better ways to build relationships with your target audience with Seth’s valuable tips and expertise, be sure to listen to the episode.
To listen, click the play button above. Or click the “Subscribe” button to go to your favorite podcast player.
In my experience, most financial advisor marketing is horrible. And my guest on today’s podcast, Seth Green, a marketing expert in the financial services business says it’s because it’s too boring. We don’t take enough time to look different. Think about how we make people feel. So if your marketing is a little off, if you’re wondering why you’re not getting more than your fair share of new business and new opportunities, I encourage you to listen in today’s podcast because I’m sure it will help you improve your marketing, getting the word out there becoming less boring, and make more people really want to talk to you listening. You’re listening to the truest fan podcast. And now here’s your host, Rob Brown. Okay, welcome back to the truest fan podcast. We have a brand new guest to the show on today, somebody that I’m literally meeting for the first time. So this makes it extra exciting. So I have no expectations, or I have some expectations, but I have not sure exactly what I’m going to hear. But we have Seth Green on board today, who is the best-selling author of nine financial services, and marketing books. He’s the host of the Ri podcast, you should check that out. And he is the founder of how to find the money for college.com. So lots of experience in marketing but also in the financial advice space. Welcome to the show. Seth.
Seth Greene 02:00
Thank you so much, Rob. It is an honor to be here. I am super excited. Let’s have some fun.
Let’s do it. So, Seth, this is going to be a surprise to you because you may not know this. But one of the reasons or one of the ways that I came up with the truce fan idea is sitting in a lot of baseball games, where I am. consider myself to be the world’s greatest Cleveland Indians guardians fan. And so I learned a lot I learned a lot about being a truest fan by watching baseball. Do you have a favorite baseball team?
Seth Greene 02:34
I’m not baseball. I’m gonna go with our Buffalo Bills for football.
Gotcha. Buffalo Bills fan. So what have you learned from being a Bills fan about you maybe the way that you made that you kind of live your life are some good things that you’ve learned from that experience?
Seth Greene 02:50
Sure. So for those of you listening and watching know about the Buffalo Bills, we’ve had an interesting history, right? When I was growing up when I was a kid back in the, you know, the 90s, we went to the Super Bowl four years in a row and lost every single time. And then we had a long 20 plus year drought, where we were not very good, you know, we would get different quarterbacks, we would get different players. It didn’t matter. We were never, it was never our year after that. And so there’s a lot of lessons in there about persistence, about flexibility about dealing with disappointment, which there are some others, you know, Cleveland, you know, now obviously you’ve got you to know, Ohio’s got some winning teams, gotten some championships, gotten pretty far football, basketball everywhere else. But we could relate to let’s say, a Chicago Cubs fan for years for decades, or a Boston fan for a while after it. You know, Larry Bird retired. So if you think about it, there’s Yeah, flexibility, persistence, dealing with disappointment. And then there are expectations. Right, because you know, now we’ve got a really good team. And we think this is our year, a year or two ago. You know, Josh Allen’s first game, I think he threw like five interceptions. And I remember watching that game going, why the heck did they draft this guy, they needed to get rid of this guy to burski, or whoever the other guy was at the time he needs to be our guy. And even he isn’t, you know, but we still need a really good franchise quarterback. And then, of course, I’m sure Josh Allen heard all of that, not from me, but from the entire city going, why the heck did they get this guy? The stories are on every single game that gets aired. They mentioned how much he worked in that offseason, how much he improved upon to go from, you know, five interceptions in one game, which is probably a record to be world-class and hopefully having us towards the Superbowl. So a lot of lessons along the way that any sports fan can probably relate to. Unless you know you were a Patriots fan for the Tom Brady years when the only question was, were you going to win another Super Bowl ring that year? We’re going to come in second.
Yeah. Well, I love that because I think we do learn so much from some of those sports and different things that we enjoy and that and staying a fan The whole time, even if you haven’t won a World Series since 1948, you know, is I mean, that, to me is like the essence of being a true fan. So I, I like to get that out there because I think that helps kind of set some tone. But let’s, let’s change gears, we all learn a lot from people who mentor us through our lives, you know, people, we work with our parents, our family members, whatever is there like a nugget that you kind of take with you, or a couple of nuggets that you take with you all the time that you kind of picked up on from one of your mentors or somebody that you’ve just helped guide you through your career?
Seth Greene 05:37
Sure, I’ll give you two one is the person most responsible for my success, you know, where I learned almost everything from would be legendary marketing guru, Dan Kennedy, or I know some of your listeners know of Dan taught me it doesn’t matter how good you are what you do, if you have nobody to be good for, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best portfolio management strategy, or the best risk-adjusted returns if nobody knows about it. So he taught me you’re not in the business of financial advice, you’re not in the business of investment management, you’re in the marketing business, and you market a business that happens to provide financial advice or investment management, or in my case, our firm is specifically focused on college financial aid. So that was a huge eye-opener at the beginning of my career to learn. And then I’ll give you one more. One of my favorite books is called the $4 sandwich by Dr. Corey Melnikov, who talks about how literally, his debit card was declined for a $4 sandwich, he didn’t have $4 to his name, as a chiropractor starting out, and has since built, you know, I think now 20 to 30, multimillion-dollar clinics. And my favorite quote from that book and Corey is as who you are, affects how well what you do works. So the more you work on yourself, as a human being and as a spiritual being, the more you grow yourself, the better results you’ll get, and the better your business will get. It doesn’t have to be a new whiz-bang marketing technique that we could talk about. But you can have the best marketing in the world. But if it doesn’t, if you’re you, as a person is not have a big enough container to hold it, it will work.
That’s awesome. Again, another kind of really, really important lesson, I think, that we talk about on the podcast all the time is this whole idea that you have to believe in yourself if you don’t take the time to build yourself up and believe that you have the opportunity and the intellect and the skills to be able to help other people, because you’re so good at what you do. You’re not going to grow as fast you’re what you say about yourself, when you’re meeting with somebody, or when you’re putting your marketing materials together isn’t going to be nearly as powerful as it could be. Amen. So let’s talk a little bit about marketing. So I think marketing is one of the things that a lot of Ra’s financial advisors screw up more than anything else because they quickly get out away from that idea that may be, you know, Dan Kennedy was talking about, you know, in terms of nobody to be good for. And so they get away from understanding that, at their core, they have to market and sell, or they have no business. But you know, they get good at the business, I get enough clients, and all of a sudden it just kind of falls flat. You know, how do you see that? You know, playing out? Why does that happen? Because I think
Seth Greene 08:22
none of us decided to get into the financial services already a insurance investment business thinking that we would become professional salespeople, right, we thought that we wanted to help people make smart choices with their money. i My dad gave me one heck of a hard time all four years of undergrad about the cost of college that he was paying. And that inspired me to want to go help other people which started you know how to find money for college.com. So we’ve all got a story like that of how we got into the business, what inspired us what made us want to do it. And what we love best about our job, or career is probably not the closing or opening relationship with a new client, it’s probably doing the work. So I think there are times, in the beginning, you know, when I got my first job at a fortune 500 financial services company, and they said here, you know, ‘s the phonebook, go get them, you know, make 300 cold calls a day. What are you talking about? I thought I was gonna be managing people’s money and investments. Well, you gotta go get on. So that’s a rude awakening if you don’t know that that’s the situation going in. And if none of us, none of us love cold calling, right? It’s not our favorite part of the job. So I think as soon as we get enough of a client base, that we’re not that we can pay the bills, we probably want to take a break from that and rest on our laurels and assume we’re going to do a good job for these people. And they’re going to refer they’re going to tell others which doesn’t happen. People don’t just every day think how can I send a referral to my financial advisor, my raa we have to train them, how to think about us how to bring us up in conversation, what to be doing, how to make that introduction, where to send those people and most of us are already A’s or advisors don’t do that. We just think I should just be good enough, and that should just happen. So I think we screw up marketing by not doing it, we screw up marketing by being boring. I think that’s the biggest mistake. If you could, for example, take a Morgan Stanley brochure and take the Morgan Stanley logo off and throw on a make of America Merrill Lynch logo, everything is pretty much the same. Right? All the services, it promises all the stuff, it talks about pretty much the same, they’re pretty much identical, those RAS were different. But think about it unless you have some proprietary whiz-bang, blackbox investment process that no one else has come up with in the last 100 years, that does something different or better. Most of us, they can get portfolio management anywhere, right? They can buy the ETF portfolio, the stock portfolio that we’re going to build that we manage the models that we’ve got, they can get a 6040, you know, whatever model anywhere. So it’s not necessarily about money management, how we differentiate ourselves. That’s what we think it is. We don’t realize that every other Ra is saying the same thing. So we don’t look different, you got to stand down and it’s not necess most likely not going to be on the investment process. It’s going to be on the relationships, it’s going to be on who you serve, and how you make them feel. And I think most financial advisors are analytical, we’re logical. We’re numbers, people. So we don’t think of it in terms of the feelings that we’re creating. But that’s really what we’re selling is not the ultimately does our client want to retire and never run out of money? Sure. But why do they want to do that it’s not because of the dollars in their portfolio, it’s because of how it’s going to make them feel, the security, the stability, the certainty, the pride, those are the things we’re really selling. And as an industry, we do a lousy job of marketing that. But if you focus on what makes you different, different is better than better. And it allows you to market much better, generate way more leads more referrals, and grow your business without having to do all the heavy lifting yourself.
Great. So I’m gonna in just a second, I’m gonna kind of break that down a little bit. But I’m curious how does a guy who got into the business not expecting to do the cold calling, and up and thinking I was just going to manage portfolios ended up writing nine, best selling financial services, marketing books.
Seth Greene 12:17
So I made the 300 cold calls a day, every day for years, because I didn’t know any better. And I was trying to keep my job and get clients and I hated it. I had the good fortune to find legendary marketing guru, Dan Kennedy, a number of years ago, I begged my wife for 30 days in a row to let me borrow more than our first house that we just bought. To go hire work with learn from Dan. Thankfully, on day 31, she caved and said, Yes, you better pray this works. And then the direct response marketing I learned from Dan made it so I never had to make another phone call, again, made it so that our phone rings every day. And it allowed me to grow a decent-sized company and a great team, where our phone rings every day based on the results of the marketing that we put out, or the internal marketing we sent to our clients to generate referrals. Both of those work, I think we got like five referrals yesterday. So and that’s not abnormal. So it’s based on creating a referral culture. So our clients actually refer on a regular basis without us having to ask, and it’s based on the external marketing that brings new people in the door. And I’ve we’ve done a number of different strategies over the last 1520 years. And every one of those books that I’ve written this probably about a different strategy that is working, you know, all in a row.
So and I know you’re not going to be able to talk about all of them. But you know, in the world that we live in today, where, you know, some people say, you know, you see these statistics come out from the industry, referrals don’t work, nobody gets referrals anymore, which I think is the biggest BS there is because I know that my clients are growing, the best and the fastest, with the most satisfaction are getting their biggest, most ideal clients from referrals, what do you do to create that referral culture. And I guess it starts by not expecting immediate results. So it
Seth Greene 14:09
depends on your definition of immediate so I can take an RIA, that’s getting a very low number of referrals, and turn their client base into a referral generation machine, I’ll take me 120 days, because we built that down to a science and we licensed that process to other RAs, there are seven steps to it, there are seven principles to it. A lot of it involves getting your clients to feel warm and fuzzy about you by being in many very, very regular, like at least twice a month communication with them not about their money. Because they’re assuming you’re taking care of their money. What makes them feel warm and fuzzy is not their statement every month or every quarter. It’s the things you do that are not about their money. So we have a whole matrix for that in terms of what to send and when to send it so that we figured out that the best ratio is two to one, which means if I do two months of warm fuzzy marketing, so that’s for warm, fuzzy marketing piece In a row, when it comes to month three, I can now send a referral culture promotion that will get the phone to ring with people having with having referrals. And part of that process is you’ve got to train your clients. They don’t know what they’re supposed to do. They don’t know who they’re supposed to refer, they don’t know who you want. They don’t know how to bring you up in conversation. You know, my first branch manager in the business, I remember going to with him to the grocery store to get stuff for the company for the July picnic. And I couldn’t believe I was a couple of months in the business. And he tapped the person the stranger in line at the grocery store ahead of him 15 years 20 years ago, tapped her on the shoulder, and said, Hi, John Smith, blankety-blank financial services, nice to meet you. How’s your retirement plan going? And I cried I was like, Oh, my God, are you? And then he turned and walked around me talk point, the woman behind us who was reading the Enquirer, he tapped her on the shoulder and did the same thing and tried to start prospecting. And I was like, Oh, my God, I am not doing that. I’m like, I can’t believe you just walked up the totals. He’s like, it’s a three-foot roll. If you can touch them, you got to talk to him. I said, Yeah, I’m not doing that. I said, my heart surgeon, isn’t going to do that. Right? The accountant isn’t doing that the lawyer is not doing that. I’m not a cheesy car salesman. No offense to car salespeople. So I said, There’s got to be, you know, a better way. And if you train your clients, how they’re supposed to do all those things so that they know how to elegantly have a conversation about you, I don’t want them knocking on strangers doors on their street, I don’t want them in a barbecue backyard going, Hey, I was your portfolio. Because that’s not how people really relate. And your clients never going to do that no matter how much they love you. So we set things up where it might be something that we know the client cares about. It’s a hobby they’ve got it’s a psychographic trend they’ve got it’s a charity they’re involved in. So there’s a built-in referral mechanism, like, hey, if we’re having a golf event, and we invited six golfers bring a member of your Foursome, who you played off with, that’s an easy layup because they already are doing a hobby that involves multiple people. If we’re having a wine tasting, bring another couple of you drink wine with because if you drink alone, you might have a problem. Joke. And so if we find out that information, and then use it, it totally changes the game in terms of it’s a whole lot easier to say, hey, my buddy is having a golf flying in this golf pro to give us a killer lesson. You want to come and improve your golf game versus Hey, my advisor serving rubber chicken in an asset allocation and annuity tender want to go to that? No, no one wants to go to that.
So let me put my advisor devil’s advocate hat on Sure. Because the one piece of pushback that I get when I have conversations like this with advisors, because I help them build their referral stream is. But Rob, it is going to take too much time to create that non money material so that they can just, you know, kind of be comfortable, at least in my start trainings, and be given referrals. So it’ll be easy. I think I know your answer to this. But I just want to kind of tee it up that way. Because time is the biggest argument, I think against building a system like you’re talking about,
Seth Greene 18:19
well, that’s the easiest one to fix. That’s the best objection because we’ve built it already. So for example, we get all that psychographic data with a direct mail survey, and we try doing it online, but nobody fills it out. When we mail it with a gift in advance, hey, here’s a gift for filling this out. Thanks so much. Everybody sends it back. Because we bribed them in advance to do it. Now they feel badly, they’re gonna send back the gift and go, No, thank you, or they do it. And then the pieces we create every month on I mean, we create them for our advisors. And it goes out with their logo, their compliance, disclaimers, and all their branding on it. So our advisors don’t really have to do anything for it to work.
Right. But I think and I think this is maybe how I got introduced you, I saw some of your stuff. Some of your messages are really Elementary and simple and fun.
Seth Greene 19:09
That’s the whole point. I advisor, we overthink stuff as advisors all the time. We think it’s gotta be so complicated, right? But realize that, you know, October, you know, next week is how we’re recording this right before Halloween. So we did a Halloween promotion, you know, planning for retirement doesn’t have to be scary. Who do you know who’s scared of the stock market? Who do you know who’s scared? Who’s talking about being scared about what’s going to happen with the election and their poor foot, whatever. We’re finding conversations that are already going on in their head about current events. And then people are like, oh, yeah, because the clients don’t think of people. But if you say who at church was complaining about Biden, I mean, I’m making this up, or who in your rotary club complains about the market. Then they’re like, oh, that’s Joe. He does that every week. Well, we should talk to Joe
Right now perfect, perfect. Yeah, I just again, I just I think that is so and not just from the fact that you have a business that can do help advisors or do this for advisors, but but just getting advisors to understand that the kinds of things that we’re talking about doing when you’re talking about building relationships, you know, you don’t have to create a new 13 page brochure, you do that every month. And maybe you’ve already answered this. In a way, you’ve already answered part of this question. But you also talked about how it’s important to look different. And to make it fun, talk a little bit more about maybe why that’s so important. And some of the other fun ways that you approach marketing to help people really stand out and be different and not have, you know, the same brochure, you know, with, with just a different logo on the front.
Seth Greene 20:55
Sure. So a lot of it can be customized can be based on who you serve as your target market. And Baby Boomers with money is not a target market. It’s too broad. So for example, we’ve helped advisors micro niche target market, they start things the advisor likes to do, right? If you are a left-wing liberal who donates to Sierra Club and save the animals, don’t market your services to Republican hunters. Right? Right, you’re going to hate them, you’re not going to want to ever spend any time with them. So we’ll ask our advisors, hey, if we could give you your dream job, what would it look like? And what hobby would you like? We’ve had a number of advisors who say, Man, if I could get paid to be on the golf course all day, that’d be great. I’d love to play golf. Okay, well, let’s create marketing that is solely aimed at golfers. And let’s tell them in the marketing that all of your appointments occur on the golf course. There’s no spreadsheets, there’s no laptops, it’s literally we’re gonna play golf and talk about stuff. And then when we go have lunch at the restaurant at the country club, you know, I’ll pull out your printouts. We have had clients who were hunters and had property and we said, okay, all of your meetings are now going to occur in a hunting blind, they got to get up at four in the morning or whatever, go hunting with you for four hours. And then we’ll talk about money. So if we find something the advisor is passionate about, and we build them a new client base, all around that hobby or that lifestyle, they can’t get enough. They’re like, Oh, my God, I love going to you know, I go to the golf course, you know, like all three or four times a week now, and I’m getting clients doing it. This is incredible. But they never thought to do it that way.
Yeah, it’s amazing. And then how many advisors do you run into that just kind of came off, like the $50,000 website or the $75,000, Facebook marketing campaign. And they’re just like, marketing doesn’t work anymore.
Seth Greene 22:43
Well, that’s why we exist. I mean, I tell clients every week, I hear that three times a day. And we are firm would be I mean, we have 46 people that work here, we’d be half the size, if every other marketing firm in our industry did what they said they were going to do. So every day, multiple times a day, it’s an average of three times a day, I hear from a financial advisor, an RA, who emails me or calls me or has an appointment with us and says, I tried XY and Z, I spent this much money and I got nothing. Well, the record we currently have is we had an advisor who spent 400,000. And then we said, Who do you really want to work with. And it turns out, he wanted to work with business executives like C suite, high-level big company, executives, who were very devout in their Christian faith. So we made him the Christian business coach, and he’s crushing it. And I said I wish you had found me $400,000 ago. Do you know what I mean? We don’t even charge a fraction of that. Do you know what we could have done with that type of budget? So I hear all the time we get brought into cleanup marketing for other firms, messes literally every single day.
Right? Yeah. And again, I wanted to bring that up, because there’s like this hesitancy on the part of some advisors to invest any money in their business, whether it’s with a marketing firm, or with a coach like myself, and then there are others who just think they can just throw as much money as they possibly can at something and eventually, they’ll get some payoff, but it doesn’t always work that way. And these are people that are helping invest in businesses that they’re looking at their ROI, right.
Seth Greene 24:17
Yeah, you would think it’s funny. That’s one of the Fortune 500 company I left with ag Edwards, and I left them 15 years ago. One of the big reasons was ag Edwards had just launched a multimillion-dollar branding campaign about our new nest egg logo. Are you ready turtle color vision CNC everything with roadshow to every single trend my first stock in the company. We spent a billion dollars on branding. What was ROI? deer in the headlights guys. What are you talking about? Like Well, this investment company our clients, what was their we have To tell our clients that returns every day, we invested a billion dollars of shareholder money part of that tiny bit was mine. How much do we make back? We have no way to track that. We don’t I mean, we have focus groups who recognize the logo and anecdotal evidence that people are calling in saying, I saw your TV commercial. I’m like, we didn’t have I had just been learning Dan Kennedy remembers, I said, we didn’t have a central 800 number on the ads, where every phone call went for a specific offer about the nest egg analysis. And then a receptionist didn’t take that information and forward it to the branch manager at the right city office, so he could send it to the broker that day. No, we didn’t do our Madison Avenue ad agency didn’t do that. Like, I gotta go start my firm, because I can’t, if you’re gonna waste a billion bucks in my money, I’m gonna go spend a whole lot less and get much better results.
Yeah, because at the very least, if you’re gonna spend money on marketing, maybe you ought to, like, fill up the appointment slots that the advisors have to actually talk to people about doing business and not, you would think not winning awards for the best marketing ad in the industry. Right. Amen. So just couple more questions, Seth. What role does making sure that your clients are your truest fans kind of play into the way that you think about, you know, building a business or building or marketing,
Seth Greene 26:22
it’s our most important priority before getting I know, lead generation and new blood in the door is sexier. But taking care of our clients, making sure they’re happy, and making sure we’re exceeding their expectations regularly, to me is more important, because they’re the ones who are paying the bills right now, as opposed to the people who will
pay the bills in the future. Right, yeah. And it also goes back to this whole idea of your, your idea of, you know, training clients to give you introductions. But having kind of a two-to-one ratio of sharing non money information with them is part of that, being a truest fan of those clients. So there’ll be a true as fan in return, because clients don’t just want to know you for your portfolio are the software that you use to do the financial planning when No, You as a as a person, that’s why, you know, you can get you know, on the golf course, four or five days a week, if you want to build your business that way or go to Bill’s games. Absolutely. Okay, so to close it out, Seth, what is the best way for somebody to get in touch with you and learn more about what you’re, what you’re doing to help advisors grow their businesses?
Seth Greene 27:33
Sure. So if they want to learn how we can help their clients cut the cost of college tuition $19,077 A year go to how to find money for college.com. And if they’d like to learn how we can help them grow their practice, it’s market domination llc.com.
Okay, awesome. And we’ll be sure to include those web links in the show notes. Well, Seth, it was great to meet you a great fast-paced conversation that I’m sure the audience has listened to and I look forward to having additional conversation with you in the future. Thanks for being with jurors fan podcast.
Seth Greene 28:05
Thanks so much for having me. It’s a lot of fun.
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