Speaker 1: This is the Ultimate Advisor Podcast, the podcast for financial advisors who want to create a thriving, successful, and scalable practice. Each week, we'll uncover the ways that you can improve your referrals, your team, your marketing, and your business operations, helping you to level up your advising practice, bring in more assets, and create the advising practice that you've dreamed of. You'll be joined by your hosts, Brian Sweet, who has more than half a billion dollars in assets under management. Brittany Anderson, the driving force for advisors looking to hire, improve their operations and company culture. And Draye Redford, who can help you systematize and automate your practices marketing to effortlessly attract new clients. What do you say? Let's jump into another amazing episode of the Ultimate Adviser Podcast.
Draye Redfern: Hey there, Draye Redfern here and welcome back to the Ultimate Advisor Podcast. Well, this week we're going to put a pause ever so slightly on our 12 week series to bring you a special interview that our very own Brittany Anderson conducted with a gentleman by the name of Matt Halloran of Top Advisor Marketing. In this episode, we're going to explore some of the ways that you can change your perspective on marketing to have more success in your financial services practice. That being said, I'll let Brittany take it away.
Brittany A.: Hello, this is Brittany Anderson, here today on your Ultimate Advisor Podcast. I have the absolute great pleasure of having Mr. Matt Halloran. Matt, thank you for joining us today.
Matt Halloran: Thanks for having me.
Brittany A.: Yes, I am so excited to have you. You know, the cool thing here for our listeners is that Matt, we kind of have a history, right? You actually coached some of the financial advisors at Suite Financial Services over 10 years ago when I first joined.
Matt Halloran: I remember when you were hired, if I'm not mistaken.
Brittany A.: Yeah, it's been a little bit, right?
Matt Halloran: It's truly amazing what you have become. I know this sounds corny, but I'm so flipping proud of you. You've built something amazing and I'm super happy to be on your podcast and hearing about all the cool stuff you guys are doing, so thanks for giving back so much to our community.
Brittany A.: Oh, thank you. That's such a huge compliment. Talk about giving back, you have given back to the adviser community in so many ways. Matt, I'd love for you to open us up and just share a little bit about your history and then where you're at now with Top Advisor Marketing?
Matt Halloran: Sure. Well, I actually didn't have any financial services experience when I was hired on by a guy that most of your listeners will know, a guy named Ron Carson. I was one of the coaches at Peak and created a couple of their programs, the True Wealth Coaching Program. We also created a holistic financial planning program that actually Brian went through. I did that for about five years and had a couple of other opportunities. I went out on my own and started my own coaching company. It was called Top Advisor Coaching. I did that for a little while and then honestly Brittany, I got kind of burned out. I was just kind of tired of advisers who would ask for advice and not implement. Right? Then they would hold me accountable for them not implementing. I had an opportunity to take my career in a different direction.
I found that I'd always, there were a lot of people who wanted marketing and branding assistance and I didn't have a lot of experience with that. I had a lot of experience with like taglines and value propositions. But I met a guy named Kirk Lowe about three years ago now at a conference in Arizona. Him and I just really hit it off. I knew that I needed to find somebody else that I could learn from. I think I'd kind of hit my top when it came to coaching. I had an opportunity to learn from Kirk.
Kirk and I started doing the worst name for a podcast ever called Mod Marketing, Marketing for the 21st Century, which was terrible. We did about 50 of those and then we realized one, we had crap, just throw them all away. Then we started the Top Adviser Marketing Podcast. Then him and I joined forces about two years ago. And now we've created a turnkey program for financial advisors to not only generate new relationships using podcasting, but we also have a podcasting program. Then the best part of it is we offer branding. Kirk Lowe is a branding expert. I have learned so much from him. How his brain works, Brittany, is so different than how my brain works. He's that creative guy, right? I'm the personality guy. It's a very, very good balance and that's pretty much where we are.
Brittany A.: That's awesome. You brought up something really interesting that I wasn't even going to touch on today, but I think it warrants a conversation. You mentioned how it can be really tough when you're trying to coach advisors and you're trying to give them all the tools possible in order to help them succeed or become even more successful. One thing that we talk about quite a bit on the podcast is mindset and really coming into something ready to show up, ready to engage, and giving them the tools to implement so that they can get that success. Why don't you talk a little bit and your experience with the advisors that you felt really grabbed the reins, they took control, and they actually acted on the advice you were giving. What are certain mindset characteristics you saw in those people?
Matt Halloran: Humility. I think that's the number one thing. The offices that I had the greatest success with, and since this is all in the past, but I help one office go from about 400,000 to production to 3.1 million in two years. They were just sponges, right? They were like, "Okay, Matt's never been a financial advisor, so he has a very unique perspective." My background is actually in communication as a therapist, so interpersonal relationships, that was really what my focus was. They were willing to know that I had coached about a thousand financial services practices at that point and I wasn't going to tell them something that hadn't been proven to work in other practices. The other thing is I think what happens of with people who don't implement, Brittany, is they're looking for a panacea. What they don't realize is they need to look at themselves in the mirror and realize that they're the reason change isn't happening.
We have humongous egos within our industry, as all entrepreneurs have egos. But the people who are the most successful are the ones who can check that ego at the door and really ask for help. And in fact, I want to harken to my old boss, because there had been so many times in Ron's career that he did that. That he was like, "You know, I don't know everything about this," and he would accept help. Then he would do what Ron did brilliantly, which was he would make it his own.
That's what I believe your listeners really need to do. You need to listen. You need to realize that there's a level of humility that other people do know, stuff that you don't know. Brittany, the thing that drives me crazy is those who can do, those who can't coach or teach. What people don't remember is you have to have teachers. You wouldn't be here right now with your CFP, your CFA, your CHFC, your Series 7, your 65 whatever if you didn't have teachers. We need to provide respect, and gratitude, and acceptance to what teachers have to offer. Did that answer your question?
Brittany A.: It did, and that's so good. I absolutely believe in what you just said, that it's good to get outside perspective. It's good to surround yourself with people who think maybe a little bit different than what you do and who aren't in your umbrella. I think that's completely valid and just so, so good. You were talking a little bit, I mean, you brought up the topic of ego you brought up I'm kind of checking that at the door and everything like that. Well, one other thing that I think is interesting that ties into this in a unique way is you have done an exceptional job through Top Advisor Marketing and through what I know are some of your services now in helping people to find their message, their voice, and to put that out there. I would love for you to talk a little bit about what exactly that means in relation to how you teach on it.
Matt Halloran: Well, we call it be your own loud. Our vision and our focus for the company is to help financial services professionals get their voice out into the marketplace in a medium that is very, very convenient. When I wrote my first book though, The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors, the opening of the book says communication has fundamentally changed. You have to communicate to your clients and prospects in the medium they prefer while they're there. The email communications, the weekly market commentaries, holding conference calls, those sorts of things, that's just not palatable for people anymore. They want your information when it's convenient to them. Through our discovery process, what we do is we help advisors figure out really who they are. We call it the Micro Influencer Program, and the idea behind Micro Influencer is that you own a specific vertical, in a specific region, with a specific level of expertise.
When you figure that out, Brittany, everything changes. We have a gentleman who we work with right now who's out in California and he is an ultra athlete, because he does ultra marathons. He's like three time Ironman. His focus is working with executives who do endurance sports. Now, you might think that that's too narrow, and it doesn't exclude him working with other people, but when he does his marketing, he's speaking to that group of people so he's going to start attracting more and more of those people. When he does, he's so happy because it doesn't feel like working, because he's hanging out with people who do the same stuff he does. You know, this is the sort of stuff that we really love to do and giving our advisers permission to have that niche and, and show them how they can grow their business by using that is, I believe, the key to the future.
Because especially anybody who is not a boomer. Yes, there are so many people who are listening to this who only focus on the 62 and a half or 58 and above, but if you're trying to focus on anybody who are 30 to 55, you need to use social media aggressively. You need to use however you can get your thought leadership out, whether you're a great writer, you're great at video, or you're great at speaking, using podcasting, but those are the things that you need to do. And you need to be hyper-focused. Because people aren't looking for generalists anymore. They're looking for somebody who speaks to them directly.
Brittany A.: That's so good. I think that really brings up an interesting point, too, when it comes to differentiation and how it relates to a niche. Right? Actually recently I was on a training where they talked about how the importance of going to sharing your story is that you attract people that have like stories. I think what you just talked about is a testament to that. When you look at the financial advisory world, and there's a lot of them out there, right? There's a lot of financial advisors. How do you think really going hard into that defined niche helps with the differentiation factor?
Matt Halloran: Well, that's a wonderful question. There are a lot of financial advisors, so you have to break through the noise, right? That's the thing. You have to break through and show really what makes you unique and different. And to be mean, but it can't be your financial planning process. It can't be your investment management strategy, because nobody really understands that. Right? It can be your process, which is super powerful. But really the way that we have found that advisors are the most successful in separating themselves from the advisor down the street is by having that niche.
Brittany A.: You brought up something else here and I want to go back a little bit because I think a factor in where people struggled to really implement, right? Where people struggle to hone in on their niche and really take your advice, right? I mean, if you're listening to this, you should already have notes down on paper about how you can go deeper on a niche and the benefit of that. But there's this thing out there in the financial advisory world, and I see this more, and more, and more is that lovely shiny object syndrome, right? The shiny object syndrome, that it's like, "You know, the idea of a niche, that's really good, but I have all these other things that I want to chase too. But what about this? And what about this? And what about that?" Talk a little bit about how having a niche can actually help you overcome the noise, overcome the whirlwind, and stay away from that shiny object syndrome?
Matt Halloran: You just always have to ask yourself does my ideal client want me to chase the shiny object? For instance, let's say you're going after 45-year-olds who are about to enter in their peak earning years who have complex employee benefits or compensation packages, right? Which by the way, is a magnificent person to target because very few people target that. And on top of that, they're putting deposits in every month, Brittany, and personally as a financial services professional, I would want people to make deposits every month instead of withdrawals every month. Because then I don't have to bring in $4.2 million every year just to break even. Anyway. If you look at, let's say you hear a presentation at a conference that dinner seminars are the key.
And by the way, dinner seminars rock. If you're trying to go after the about retirees or the people who are in retirement, dinner seminars are amazing. They are proven to work. There's great companies out there that can help. But if you're going after that 45-year-old, it doesn't matter if that presenter told you that that's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Your target market doesn't go to those. They just don't. They listen to podcasts. They'll be on a convenient webinar. They'll want to do everything virtually, right? They're not going to come into their office because they've got two and a half kids, and a dog, and soccer, and all of those things. Again, you as a financial services professional, I believe it is your duty to make your advices as convenient as possible to the people who need your help.
Brittany A.: That is so good. Talk about being a giver. I just feel like I'm sitting here and I'm listening to you talk and I'm writing down myself, right? There's just so much that you're bringing to light here that I think is really important. Something that I do want to talk about, too, is the shiny object syndrome. You've got that on one end of the spectrum. You've got that as a real issue that a lot of financial advisors face.
But then on the kind of other end of the spectrum, so you've got some that are out there chasing new ideas, and they're the visionary, and that's what they want. Then you have others that have we'll just call it a unique ability to micromanage in a kind of negative way. Right? You actually mentioned on your website that your ideal client is someone who doesn't want to micromanage their marketing success. Since this is a partially marketing-geared podcast, I want you to talk about that. I want you to elaborate a little bit more on that. What dangers do you see occurring when they keep too close to that micro-managing pulse?
Matt Halloran: Well, it's analysis paralysis, right? What makes a great financial advisor, which is highly detail-oriented, black and white thinking, highly analytical, all of those things don't always make an advisor the best business owner, manager, or marketer. I believe that if you've ever read anything like The Four Hour Work Week, or if you've really followed any of the more modern philosophies on management or how to personally manage your life, one of the biggest pieces, and we do this a Top Advisor Marketing, is we outsource. If we don't have somebody internally who can do it and I know I can hire somebody outside who can do it better, I'm going to do that immediately. We do that with websites. We do that with some of our graphic design work. Those are pieces that we know that there are other people who can do that stuff even better than we can, and so we feel comfortable outsourcing it. That's an ability to resend control that a lot of financial advisors don't want because they're controlling by nature, which again makes them a great financial advisor.
This is that whole idea of giving yourself the opportunity and the freedom to not have to control everything. We believe that through the system that we've created specifically, you don't feel like you've given up that much control because you're still massively in control of the content, and the topics, and all of those things, but you're still giving my team the creative opportunity to create all of the what we call content multiplication aspect around it, but we're still using your words. We've met advisers halfway, Brittany, because we know that I'm not going to move the needle all the way on in my direction. There are very few people who are just going to resend all of their control to us. That's what we've done with our whole system is really just tried to give them the respect that they deserve as successful business professionals.
But the other thing too is, and this is might seem like a weird transition, but I hopefully will be able to bring it back around, is I don't think advisors truly understand what marketing is. Marketing, first off, they should have a budget for it. Right? You know, and your firm, by the way, has always been so good at this. I remember working with Ty in your office specifically and we were talking about some stuff. He's like, "Oh yeah, we already had money allocated to that." I was like, "Dude, you're so awesome. That's so smart."
But you know, you should be spending seven to 15% gross, not net, on marketing, and very few advisors do that. Once you start writing that check and you start realizing that you're not the best kept secret in your area, because you're getting the word out, because people are understanding who you are, that's when everything changes. That's when you feel like you can give up that control because you know that it's being productive on the backend. But it's not super fast. Right? This isn't a seminar where you drop $10,000 for a 10,000 piece mailer and you know you're going to make 150 grand off of it. That's not how this works. Real marketing is a slow burn. What happens is as it burns, it gets stronger and more intense.
Brittany A.: Yeah. You know, Matt, you bring up such a good point there, too, because if you listen, if you're part of our following and you listen to some of the big marketing gurus out there, right, some of the really big names that work with the top celebrities, politicians, top whatever in their game, you have heard this term probably that you should never outsource your marketing. But you have to be careful with that, because Matt, what you're saying is that you absolutely can outsource a portion of your marketing if the people are willing to capture your voice. That's where people fall into a trap is where they lose their voice or they don't know their voice and they don't know how to articulate that message that they want. Right? I think that that is really interesting.
Other thing that I wanted to bring up too is that I think you're right Matt, when you say that people are kind of afraid of market, don't understand marketing per se, so then they don't really want to go into it. But I think that the thing to get into a person's head is that when you understand your niche, when you understand the value you provide to that niche, that you are actually doing a disservice to the people around you, to the people that you should be serving, by not marketing your message, by not communicating out there as to what you do and who you help.
I'd love you to talk a little bit about that, too, because I know, Matt, you guys do an exceptional job in helping people capture that voice, know their story, and then articulate that story. I'd love for you to just elaborate a little bit on that.
Matt Halloran: Yeah. We have a very distinct discovery process that we take all of our clients through, and 90% of it's listening. I teach my team how to listen. I know that might sound strange, but just because you have two years doesn't mean you have any idea how the hell to listen. And on top of that, if you listen, respond, you miss like 70% of the conversation. My team is quiet. In fact, there are times where we'll be in a discovery process and the advisor will say, "Hey, are you guys still there?" "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We're just writing stuff down, but we're waiting to see if you are done and then we're going to formulate that next question."
You really hit the nail on the head. If you don't know how to succinctly communicate your real value proposition, right, your unique ability, who you are and what makes you truly fundamentally unique and different, than you are doing a disservice. If you don't practice over and over again saying what makes you fundamentally unique and different, which is why we love podcasting so much. Because every time we hit record with our clients, they're practicing their UVP, their elevator pitch, their financial planning process, their thought leadership, what truly makes them unique and different. We've found that their level of confidence has gone up so much six to eight podcasts in, because advisors don't realize that when they're sitting in front of a client or prospect, Brittany, it's game time, right? You should have plays, you should have practiced, right? You should have all, that's that mindset that you're talking about. Advisors just kind of show up. You know, I've done this a thousand times.
Well you know what, Michael Jordan took a thousand shots every day and he was the greatest player. Well, whatever. We can argue if that's true or not, but you know, he was one of the greatest players to ever play the game. One of the reasons why, it's because he always practiced. We believe that podcasting is a magnificent way to practice. It's also a great way to reaffirm and to reenergize you on what makes you unique and different. When I get done recording with my clients specifically, I have very, very few clients that I deal with directly, but their level of energy and excitement about going out and attacking the world after we get done is exponentially greater because my job as a podcast host and my voice talent's job as a podcast host is to make them feel happy, smart, excited, and have fun.
Brittany A.: That is so good. You've said something to me before that I want to bring up right now is that you believe, on the topic of podcasting, and actually before I even get into that, I just, I have to say something here. When you're talking about listening to respond, I'm totally having a squirrel moment myself, but listening to respond and actually letting the other person doing all the talking, that's a nugget to implement with your clients as well. Right?
We're not just talking marketing, we're not just talking podcasting, or interviewing, and capturing voice. This is something real that can be applied into your practice right now that we consistently see advisors suffer with, right? Because they feel like they have to keep talking to get their message across, when in reality they should just flip the switch and do some listening. That's a golden nugget that I wanted to pull out before I even go back to what I was going to say.
Matt, you mentioned podcasting, and you've talked about this quite a bit. You have a whole platform on it. You have mentioned before that you believe podcasting is the new seminar experience. I want you to share with the audience what you mean by that and why.
Matt Halloran: It just it all depends on who you're going to target. If you're targeting people who have time, right, who are either really close to retirement or who are already retired, dinner seminars, educational seminars, educational workshops, it's printing money. Now, you have to be good, right? You have to be able to get in front of people and be entertaining, and educational, and motivational, and you have to sell. Right? Which you know, is not always a lot of people who can do that, Brittany. But the neat thing about podcasting is, one, it's in your comfort zone. You are sitting in your office behind a microphone, you're not looking at anybody. Well, sometimes you're looking at me or my voice talent. You're being asked questions about stuff that you know, you're having a conversation. What we've found is people want to be talked with not at any more. Seminars are talking at people, right?
Commercials are talking at people, emails, talking at people. What we want to do is we want to create it as a conversation so that you feel like you're a fly on a wall listening to really, really good financial advice from two people who really care, right? All of our voice talents that we have either direct financial services experience or have coached lots, and lots, and lots of people. We know what to say, we know how to ask the questions, and we hopefully know how to bring that to their attention. The reason why it's the new seminar is because it's convenient. I am able to put out, and Kirk and I've done about 200 podcasts with the Top Advisor Marketing podcast. We've probably produced and syndicated about a thousand podcasts now in the company. But every time you send a kid a podcast, Brittany, it shows up directly on the person's listening device if they have subscribed to it.
I get this nice little notification on my phone when the podcast comes in. I'm keeping top of mind with all of these people without being pushy. You choose to click on it, you choose to listen to it. When we have people come in, and this has happened with our clients, too, we'll have people say, "Oh my god, I've listened to every one of your podcasts. I feel like I'm talking to a celebrity," or, "I can't thank you enough for providing us with this thought leadership."
Just like a seminar, when people listen to your podcast and you're doing good work with the podcasts, they come in ready to sign. They don't need for you to make a pitch. You've made the pitch in your 12 podcasts that you did before they ever came in. That's why we believe that this can help you target a younger demographic, right, who's going to have the largest, you think there was a large wealth transfer before, this is going to be the largest wealth transfer in history, as long as the boomers don't spend all of their money. But we're going to have the opportunity to make a huge difference with a younger group of people to make everything that you say convenient to them very palatable, and then they come in and they're ready to sign.
Brittany A.: Yeah. I want to point something out to our listeners too, is that if you're hearing this and your target niche is more of the retirees and you're not going after the younger generation per se, you still need to be mindful of longevity of your business, right? A lot of the advisors that we work with don't want to just have their business close up shop when they decide they don't want to be in it. Most of them have succession plans. Most of you have maybe junior advisors that are going to possibly step in and take over at some point in the future. So by engaging this next generation and doing it in a way that they want to be engaged with, that is absolutely relative and essential to your business. I wanted to point that out because it definitely is applicable regardless of where you're at in your business.
Matt, you have given and shared so much today. I want to hear from you. If you could give one piece of advice to eight successful wealth advisor looking to grow their business, what would that one piece of advice be?
Matt Halloran: Bruce Lee said, "Be like water, don't be like ice." Which means any container that you put yourself in, you would be able to be fluid enough to fill that container. But there's another addition to that which is empty your cup. When you go into conferences, and you listen to podcasts, and you think that you have it all, you're missing out on so much. Because what happens is nothing else can go into that cup. Always, always, always try to keep in mind that your cup should be less than half full, but try to be fluid, try to be adjustable, try to be flexible so that no matter what situation you're in that you can mold to that specific situation.
Brittany A.: God, That is so good. I am sitting here and I'm like writing that quote down. That was really, really insightful. Matt, to round us out, how can people get ahold of you if they want to learn a little bit more about what you do at Top Advisor Marketing, learn about the services, the podcast, all of that. How can they reach out and get ahold of you?
Matt Halloran: Well, if they want to, Top Advisor Marketing podcasts are available on iTunes, all you have to do is find that, Or any of the playing devices. Topadvisorm, and the M is for marketing .com. Is our website or you can contact me directly. Email is really the best, which is Matt@topadvisorm.com. We'd love to have the opportunity to help. I mean, our job at Top Advisor Marketing is to help people just like you get their voices out into the marketplace, get it so that people who you are and stop being the best kept secret in your community. We believe that if you follow our system, we've got a 36 month system, Brittany. If you follow our system, what would normally take you 10 to 15 years to build within the community. We can have you do it in three so that you are that guy. You are that lady who everybody goes to for that specific specialty. That's it in a nutshell.
Brittany A.: Awesome. Well thank you so much, Matt, for joining me today. I feel like we could keep talking for days on some of this stuff, but I promise we'll round it out. Matt, thank you again. Top Advisor Marketing. Please reach out. He is absolutely exceptional at what he does.
That wraps up today's episode of the Ultimate Advisor Podcast. We're going to catch you back here next week.
Hey Brittany, here. We hope you got a lot of value out of today's episode. To access the key takeaways, the show notes, and any deliverables, go to ultimateadvisorpodcast.com. While you're there, check out the Ultimate Advisor Mastermind if you want to learn ways to maximize your income, your impact, and your legacy through an automated practice, a self-managing team, and a killer culture the clients can't stay away from. We look forward to seeing you back here in next week's episode.