Welcome to The Elite Advisor Blueprint – The Podcast for World-Class Financial Advisors. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of Advisor Development at Advisors Excel, and it’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of independent financial advising.
Hey Blueprint listeners, hopefully quarantine life is treating you well and you and your loved ones are safe and sound. I’ve been safely working from home for almost a month with the whole Johnson crew and the good news is that the podcast can go on, even if my podcasting studio is currently a spare bedroom ?
Today I’m excited to announce a brand new series on The Elite Advisor Blueprint podcast. Times like this call for those that can offer a helping hand to step up and I want to serve all of you (even more) that have helped me build this show from the ground up and have been kind enough to listen in over the years.
So, I’m starting The Virtual Financial Advisor Series™, which will be episodes coming to you directly here on the show, just more frequently where I bring on experts that can help us all navigate the jump from bricks and mortar to the 100% virtual world we are all trying to serve our clients in now. I’m also going to begin live streaming interviews as they happen so you all can gain access to them immediately and don’t have to wait for editing or production as time is of the essence during these COVID-19 times we are all living in. If you’d like to join the Virtual Advisor community, you can do that at www.bradleyjohnson.com/virtualadvisor.
So with that… today’s episode is the first of our official Virtual Advisor series and it’s a timely one… In today’s conversation, Phillip Stutts returns to the podcast with a groundbreaking study on consumer behavior post COVID-19! I don’t know that I’ve ever asked more questions in a podcast interview, as this data was fascinating and applies to all of you advisors out there trying to adapt and connect with prospects right now.
For those who may have missed last year’s conversation with Phillip, he’s one of the masterminds behind the curtain of political marketing…
Phillip is the best-selling author of Fire Them Now: The 7 Lies Digital Marketers Sell, has worked with multiple Fortune 200 companies, has over two decades of experience working on campaigns with billions of dollars in political ad spend, and contributed to thousands of election victories, including U.S. President George W. Bush, among others.
Most recently he’s guested on ESPN, James Altucher and Gary Vaynerchuck’s shows, and had a conversation with billionaire Mark Cuban to share this same data.
Today, Phillip is here to share groundbreaking COVID-19 Market Research that sheds light on the psychology behind how consumers are thinking during the pandemic. This data will change how you market as a financial advisor.
Here are 3 of my big takeaways from this episode…
- #1: The 3 most important messages you need to communicate to consumers when marketing your business right now – and why the messaging you used pre COVID could end up completely tone-deaf and actually offend prospects and lose you business [11:49]
- #2: A recent case study from a pest control company Phillip’s company works with, that put these 3 marketing messages to work and has actually seen a 20% increase in their business since the pandemic started. So much of this applies directly to how financial advisors should be thinking about their marketing message right now. [14:52]
- #3: The biggest consumer insights uncovered from Philips 30-page market research study, and how you can use this information to position yourself as an expert to attract and retain clients. [55:42]
- [11:49] Why Phillip predicted a “moral collapse” in our economy around social media – and why ego-centric, high status messaging is now dead.
- [15:36] The reason Phillip pulled and retooled an extremely successful client campaign for a national client as soon as the crisis took hold – and how this repositioning grew their business.
- [19:20] Why now is an incredible time to reposition yourself in the marketplace and grow your customer base with low ad spend rates as your competitors are hiding.
- [22:00] Three marketing messages that worked incredibly well six months ago that will now actively lose you business.
- [26:47] Why Phillip is recommending advertising on local TV networks, Facebook, and local newspapers, and through direct mail to reach prospective new clients right now.
- [30:00] Why podcast listener rates are down and YouTube viewership is up.
- [32:00] How OTT consumption has exploded, how this provides advertisers with incredible power to run highly targeted campaigns, and how Phillip used this data to run a counter ad against an NBC Nightly News story about one of his clients.
- [41:00] Why safety, trust, and help are powerful, can’t-miss messages right now – and how to use client-side video messaging and inexpensive ad spend to reach new prospects.
- [48:20] Why now is the time to give people value for free to build authentic client relationships and see 2-10x return on investment in the years to come.
- [56:05] Big takeaways from Phillip’s reporting on retail, delivery services, streaming services, and politics.
- [01:04:20] How Phillip doesn’t let his fight against achalasia fill him with fear or consume his thinking.
- [1:11:00] How writing down a question in a notebook, without any devices, and taking 45 minutes to answer it without interruption became Phillip’s breakthrough technique.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Keith Cunningham Thinking Time
- Go Big Media
- Win Big Media
- Phillip Stutts on Tea With Gary Vee
- 3 Data-Backed Messages Converting Customers in the Coronavirus Economy
REVIEW OF THE WEEK
This week’s featured review comes to us from user Saflochat who said…
Thank you! That means a lot and is a big reason why I started The Virtual Advisor series. I see a big need out there for you financial advisors who are trying to navigate this unforeseen situation with COVID-19. It’s times like this that true financial advisors stand up and if I’m preaching it to my clients, I want to be doing the same on my end, which is why I’m trying my best to bring value and over deliver during this time. It’s reviews like this that really keep me going.
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For those of you that have interest in diving deeper or figuring out how you may be able to have our team help you implement many of the ideas shared on the show, my day job happens to be consulting financial advisors from all over the US on how to grow their business and design a practice that serves them, versus them serving it. Yes it’s possible to grow your business and work less, this is a model we’ve replicated over and over in markets all over the country… So, if you’d like to apply to see if it makes sense for us to have a 1-on-1 conversation on how to overcome what may be getting in your way, you can do that at bradleyjohnson.com/apply. It takes about 5 minutes to fill out the application so we can understand what your business looks like, what challenges you may be facing and how myself and my team may be able to help. We then dive into a Discovery session where we ask a lot of questions based on your survey. We do a lot of listening, and take a lot of notes to build a rough draft of our proprietary Elite Advisor Blueprint – 90 Day Plan™. Taking the first step is as simple as applying at bradleyjohnson.com/apply 🙂
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Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast with your host, Brad Johnson. Brad’s the VP of Advisor Development in Advisors Excel, the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the US. He’s also a regular contributor to InvestmentNews, the Wall Street Journal, and other industry publications.
[00:00:26] Brad Johnson: Welcome to the Elite Advisor Blueprint, the podcast for world-class financial advisors. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of Advisor Development at Advisors Excel, and it’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of financial advising.
Hey there, blueprint listeners. Hopefully, quarantine life is treating you all well and you and your loved ones are safe and sound. Me, personally, I’ve been safely working from home for almost a month now with the whole Johnson crew and the good news is that the podcast can go on even if my podcasting studio currently happens to be a spare bedroom. So, definitely feeling the quarantine effects along with the rest of you. Today, I’m excited to announce a brand new series on the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast because times like this call for those that can offer help to step up and I want to serve you all even more that have helped me build this show from the ground up and been kind enough to listen in over the years. So, with that, I’m starting The Virtual Advisor Series. It’s going to have episodes coming to you directly here on this very same show so no worries about going out and searching for different podcasts. I’m just going to title these episodes so you know where to find them so you’ll see it right in the title of the show.
And I’m going to bring these episodes to you more frequently where I can bring experts on they can help us all navigate the jump from bricks-and-mortar to the 100% virtual world we all happen to be trying to serve clients in right now. I’m going to begin live streaming interviews as they happen so you all can gain access to them immediately and don’t have to wait for editing or production as time is of the essence during these COVID-19 times we’re all living in. So, wherever you can watch them, I’m going to try to put them there, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and if you’d like to join for an upcoming schedule where you can see these, where you can stream them immediately, we’ve created a virtual advisor community. It’s a private Facebook group. You can join at www.BradleyJohnson.com/VirtualAdvisor. With the click of the button, you’ll be in.
[00:02:26] Brad Johnson: So, with that, today’s episode is the first of our official Virtual Advisor Series and it’s a timely one. In today’s conversation, Phillip Stutts returns to the podcast with a groundbreaking study on consumer behavior post-COVID-19, to my knowledge, the only one that exists out there right now. I don’t know that I’ve ever asked more questions in a podcast interview as this data was fascinating and it applies to all of you advisors out there, trying to adapt and connect with prospects right now. For those who may have missed last year’s conversation with Phillip, Phillip is the best-selling author of Fire Them Now: The 7 Lies Digital Marketers Sell. He’s worked with multiple Fortune 200 companies as he has two different arms to his business Win BIG Media and Go BIG Media, one of which works in the political space in digital marketing, one of which works with Fortune 200 companies marketing for businesses on the digital side.
He’s spent over two decades working on campaigns with billions of dollars in political ad spend and he’s contributed to thousands of election victories, including working with George W. Bush on his campaign before he was elected president, as well as two other US presidents. Most recently, he’s guested on ESPN, James Altucher, Gary Vaynerchuk shows and had a conversation with billionaire, Mark Cuban, on this very same data we get into during this conversation today. So, this groundbreaking COVID-19 market research will change how you market as a financial advisor. Here are three quick takeaways you’re going to learn. Number one, the three most important messages you need to communicate to consumers when marketing your business right now, and why the messaging you used pre-COVID-19 could actually end up having you show up completely tone-deaf and end up offending your prospects and lose your business.
[00:04:19] Brad Johnson: Number two, a recent case study from a pest control company Phillips advised and how they changed three marketing messages to work that have actually seen their business increased 20% since the pandemic started. So much of this applies directly on how financial advisors should be thinking about their marketing message right now. And number three, the biggest consumer insights uncovered from Phillip’s 30-page market research study, and how you can use this information to position yourself as an expert to attract and retain clients right now.
Okay, before we get to the show, Phillip has offered to give all of you listening in this full downloadable study with answers to 41 questions on how consumers are behaving right now. One, he’d usually charges clients $5,000 to $10,000 to have done and I love that Phillip is practicing what he preaches, just stepping up and serving right now. Such an awesome testament to who he is. That study is available as a free download in the show notes at BradleyJohnson.com/73 by clicking the upper right at the top of the post. If you happen to be listening in on a mobile player, you should see the link in most apps by simply scrolling down into the show notes.
Also, for those who want direct and immediate access to all future Virtual Advisor episodes right as we livestream them, literally as I record them, please join our private Facebook community at BradleyJohnson.com/VirtualAdvisor. The plan is also to take a live viewer questions as I record future interviews. It should be fun, as long as I don’t mess it up. So, we’d love to have you connect out there on Facebook. Join the conversation. Join the community there. So, that’s it. Thanks for listening in. Please enjoy my conversation with Phillip Stutts.
[00:06:09] Brad Johnson: Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint podcast. I’m back with Phillip Stutts for Round 2. Welcome back, Phillip.
[00:06:16] Phillip Stutts: Man, excited to be here. A lot to discuss.
[00:06:19] Brad Johnson: So, I want to just take the last 10 minutes of the conversation we just had and add it to this conversation. I’m like, “Dude, we got to stop talking and just hit the record button.” So, let me just give context. So, for those of you that that are listening in and didn’t hear my first conversation with Phillip Stutts, make that Round 2. Go back. Phillip gets into we’ve got Go BIG Media, we’ve got Win BIG Media so basically your background, the political side, the marketing on that side that then translated to digital and Facebook and all of that. And it was working so well over there. You’re like, “Hey, let’s do that for businesses as well.”. So, you kind of have two branches of the business that are both around the media, generating the message that resonates with the audience. Would that be a fair description?
[00:07:04] Phillip Stutts: Yeah, that is and what we realized we had it under one umbrella for a while, Brad. And then business owners kept saying, “Well, we went to your website and there are a bunch of politicians on there,” and we went, “Oh, not in today’s age,” where everybody’s offended by everything. So, we separated the two companies and the corporate business is called Win BIG Media and we’ve been fortunate enough to take this sort of, we use sort of the formula to elect presidents and US senators, apply it to businesses to market their business. And since we’ve sort of put that model in place, we have NASDAQ-traded companies under our umbrella. We’ve got Fortune 200 companies. We have small businesses, startups. People see the value and looking at their marketing completely different which is kind of a lead-in to how we’ll look at this today but that’s sort of the nuts and bolts of it.
[00:07:50] Brad Johnson: Awesome. So, for those that want kind of that framework, go back listen to my first episode with Phillip. I’m not going to spend any time there because we’ve got so much to cover today. I just hope we have enough time. So, the context of how this conversation came to be, Phillip, you sent me an email, you’re like, “Hey, I’ve got this data. We just did a study around COVID-19 coronavirus, and it’s got these fascinating insights in what the marketplace is thinking,” and around all different topics. So, I’m just going to set the context there and then we’re just going to dive in and see where the conversation goes. But if you can start with the idea behind the study, how you gathered the data, the time period, and then we’ll get into some of the findings.
[00:08:30] Phillip Stutts: Yeah. I’m going to read through it just because it’s easier for me to kind of do this. We created the first with our data partner. We have a partnership with the largest data collection agency in America.
[00:08:41] Brad Johnson: Go through the laundry list of all of the people that are like, you’re basically going around on who’s who of podcast. You were on ESPN a few days ago. So, who’s hungry for all this data because I think that sets context?
[00:08:53] Phillip Stutts: Yeah. No, I’m advising with this data that we’re going to walk through today. We’ll show you what investors are thinking about and consumers are thinking about. It’s the first and only consumer/investor driven study that gives you how these people are sort of dealing with the situation and the messages that will work more effectively for you out there right now, if you own your own business, you have financial clients, whatever. I’ve been working with James Altucher to work through this data, to work through his brand, and how he’s communicating his audience. Peter Diamandis. I sat down with Mark Cuban this week and work through the data with him. So, I’ve just kind of said, I have something that everybody’s looking for, they don’t know. We typically charge between $5,000 and $10,000 for a data report like this, but in all honesty, I asked myself that question about two weeks ago, and the question was, how do I want to be remembered a year from now? And when I answered that question, I said I have to give this data away for free.
And so, for you guys that are listening here, this data is available for you. We’ll give you the link in just a minute. There is no funnel. You don’t have to put your email in anything. You literally go to the link, download it. It’s yours. I’m not tracking you. This is a giveaway because we are all in a moment that we need to help others. And there are a lot of for me where I can provide the most value as business owners, entrepreneurs, financial advisors, people like that, I want to show you what is working, what you need to avoid and walk through this is consumer data. And it’s made up of we asked 5,000 US customers about their changing views and behaviors resulting from the pandemic and then we modeled it against 200 million consumer and investor profiles in the United States. Again, I have the partnership with the largest data collection company in America. They have over 200 million people in their file and we match this data up against them and that’s how we derive the data.
[00:10:52] Brad Johnson: Okay. So, data that everybody can use to better market. And the other thing too right now, I see a lot of brands out there, they’re kind of tone-deaf. You know, it’s like their normal marketing run was rolling and it’s like they didn’t adjust the marketing for what everybody is actually thinking about right now. So, also allow you to avoid being completely tone-deaf and how you show up in the marketplace.
[00:11:14] Phillip Stutts: It’s a great point. And the other thing is this. For the last eight years, what moved men, no matter if it was a product, a service, B2B, B2C, what moved men was different than what moved women. And what we have seen right now is a total convergence, that everybody is aligned. So, whether you’re speaking to men or women, the foundations of your message have to be the exact same right now because they are thinking the exact same thing and I’ll tell you what that is as we walk through the data.
[00:11:43] Brad Johnson: Alright, man. Let’s dive in. So, I’m just going to let you go, and then I’ll hop in with some random questions along the way.
[00:11:48] Phillip Stutts: Yeah. So, the key to everything right now, I believe that our economy had a void in good values for a long time. I’ve written about this. I have a subscriber list and I wrote about that I thought there would be a crash in the marketplace about a year ago around social media. I also thought brick-and-mortar companies would have a crash as well. I did not predict the pandemic. Listen, I am a libertarian in my political thinking, but I saw a moral collapse in our economy and I’ll give you an example. When people on Instagram I call them, sorry, I’m going to somewhat curse here, the ass and abs Instagram economy, where you would show your ass or your abs and you would hold up a product and you would make $10,000 a post. That exists. That economy has existed. There are a lot of 20-something-year-olds who’ve made a ton of money in the last five years by doing those exact same things.
And that economy is dead right now. It is finally over. I did predict this would end. I just didn’t know a pandemic would cause it, but that economy is over. For example, a friend of ours recently, like in the last three days posted a picture on Facebook of she and a bunch of her girlfriends on a boat in a bikini, and the vitriol of responses from that, like, “How dare you? We are in our house. We are suffering right now. How dare you go out and not socially distant? How dare you act like your life is great? How dare you do these things?” And I tell you this, Brad, and your audience because the messages that have moved consumers and moved investors over the last five years is let me show you how you can be wealthy. Let me show you how when you’re wealthy, you have high status. Look at me, look at me, look at me. That’s what’s moved because that’s what the consumer wanted.
[00:13:46] Phillip Stutts: The consumer had sort of been robotically moved into that mindset. And the people out there and I’m sure a lot of your audience is this. The people out there who say, “Well, I’ve built my business on honesty, integrity, and I can’t get any traction in the last few years.” I’m doing this the right way. Well, how come I can’t get any traction? Because you’re competing against this message that works of me, me, me, me, me ego, ego, ego. Everything was egocentric, right? No one can deny that the Instagram economy has been exploded and it’s bled into other facets of business. And what I’m telling you right now is this data has clearly said, that is over. And the businesses that have created a foundation and struggled to get footing based around three messages, that you are helping others, you’re providing safety for others, and that you’re trustworthy, those three messages are what you should be communicating to your sales teams.
[00:14:46] Brad Johnson: One more time with those three.
[00:14:47] Phillip Stutts: I’m going to talk about them a lot. So, let me roll and then I’m going to get back to it. But my point is, is if you have a sales team, if you’re doing business development, or you’re marketing your business, you have to follow those three message points right now. Those three message points resonated with women over the last few years more than men but now that where we are, it’s all equal. Men and women both want to hear those messages in their marketing, whatever way you do it. And let’s talk about them again, helping others, creating safety, and trustworthiness. Now, I’ll give you an example of what that means and how not to do it. So, we work with a national pest control company and we have blown their business up. On March 5, we sat down and called them and said, “Everything that’s worked, we’re taking it off. We’re pulling all your ads of what’s worked and why you’re so happy with us and we’re going all-in on corona,” and they said, “We don’t know why.” And I said, “Well, you’ll know in a couple of weeks.”
And here was the thing. We couldn’t come out and say to their customers, “Hey, hire us. We’ll protect you from the coronavirus,” like that’s not how it works. The bottom line is and what I see and what I saw before I even looked at the data was that because the economy is shutting down, the first thing that happens, I guarantee you, Brad, you had it, I’ve had this conversation. My wife and I sat down and said, “We got to look at our budget right now. What do we keep and what are we not going to keep?” And I understand that a lot of people are thinking that way right now, probably 80% to 90% of all households. And what you have to maintain is, “Oh, my God, we can’t give up this.” That was where we started from. How do we make sure the customers of this pest control company say, “You know what, that’s the one thing we can’t cut. We work for an organic supplement health food company. That was our same outcome. That was the one thing in the budget you couldn’t cut.” And I’ll tell you some other examples.
[00:16:45] Phillip Stutts: We do work for law firms, how we positioned them, and all that stuff. We repositioned everybody. And with a pest control company, our message is this, “It’s springtime. It’s summertime coming. The bugs are about to come in your house. You’re quarantining your house. You’re cooking every meal in your house. This is not the time to cut your budget on the pest control because they are coming. And in this moment, you got to make sure that you keep your house safe, that you keep immunity systems high, and bugs aren’t filtering in your house all the time. In fact, our team, our technicians will wear gloves, masks, and protective helmets because we’re here to serve you and we’re here to make sure your family is safe, and we care about you.” And it addresses trust, helping them, and safety. And that message has exploded their business. Not only are they not seeing a big drop off in customers, they’re gaining new customers right now because they’re addressing what’s in their customers’ heads.
They’re not talking about, “Oh, I don’t know, we’re in this bad moment. What should we talk about? Well, our business is great. You should hire us.” That’s not it. They didn’t say, “Coronavirus! Hire us.” No, they fed into what is in the brains of their consumers right now. And that’s how whoever is listening to this right now and you’re trying to figure out how to adjust your business in this moment, that’s how you got to do it.
[00:18:11] Brad Johnson: It’s a lot there. Here’s the context of this. Right now is the first time in the history of humanity, the entire world, not just the United States of America is dealing with one problem all at the same time.
[00:18:25] Phillip Stutts: All together.
[00:18:26] Brad Johnson: It speaks to your convergence of males and females thought very differently. Now they’re thinking the exact same, which is very interesting. So, on that, let’s go back. This is an interesting case study. When did the marketing message shift for this pest control company? How long ago?
[00:18:43] Phillip Stutts: We started in the second week of March.
[00:18:46] Brad Johnson: Second week of March, which was kind of not too far behind the emergence. When did the NBA season gets canceled? You remember? Because to me that…
[00:18:53] Phillip Stutts: No, but everything shut down around March 14. That’s when the first stay-at-homes since social distancing happened. So, we did ours around March 10 to 12 was when we positioned all of our clients.
[00:19:05] Brad Johnson: Do you have metrics on their business acquisition? Or like most companies have lost revenue. Has their stayed the same or ramped?
[00:19:13] Phillip Stutts: They’ve ramped because we also positioned and said like, I think there’s so many businesses that they complained for the last 10 years that it’s too expensive to market online and there are too many players competing in the marketplace. And if you have a business that has the potential to grow in this moment, you sort of have to go for it. Because the ad rates are incredibly low, and everybody’s in the corner in the fetal position sucking their thumb. And if you want to live with fear, go do that. If you want to say when the economy comes back, “Where am I positioned in the marketplace?” that’s important. So, we’ve doubled down on a lot of our stuff. A couple of our clients were breaking even and that’s good because they’re gaining new customers. But when the economy roars back, and it will roar back, whether it’s in three months or six months, they will have doubled the amount of customers they have, even though they’re not making money right now. And the lifetime value of that is enormously important and they get it.
But, man, I mean, like, look, I’m not immune to this. We had a national timeshare company as a client. On March 12, that ended for us like they’re out of business right now. And I can tell you what the travel industry looks like right now. That’s something we’re going to get into but let me go back to the…
[00:20:32] Brad Johnson: One other thing too, that I’m just going to throw on there. You’re talking about client acquisition. You hinted at some of this earlier. Like right now look at the common themes. So, helping others, safety, trust. It’s how you show up that, hey, when everybody was on the sugar high of an 11-year bull run, I mean, you can do no wrong really as an ad agency or as a pest control company or whatever your business is. Now, you’re showing up when everybody else is hiding or not speaking, but to your point over in the corner, it’s sucking their thumb. Now, the brand equity that you’re building as a company, this was the firm that showed up. They made sure our family was safe. They made sure we were protected. I mean, it’s just unbelievable on that side as well.
[00:21:18] Phillip Stutts: I go back to this. Ask yourself the question, “How do I want to be remembered one year from now?” In my own businesses where we’ve applied and I’ve been told today, we’ve been accepted for the PPP loans. Do I need them right now? No, but I have an obligation to make sure that I don’t have to layoff anybody if things go really downhill. It’s my insurance policy. I want to keep my employees. I want to do whatever it takes and that’s one way. I played a little defense. I have to. It’s my insurance policy. The offense is we’re taking our clients to another level, either immediately or in about six months, and it’s going to happen. So, let me talk to this about the data because I think for the financial advisors out there listening, this is incredibly important. Here are the messages that crushed three months ago, in the previous five years, two months ago. And if you use these messages now, like you said, when you open the podcast, you were going to offend people and lose business.
If you were out there talking about acquiring wealth, status, and influence, that’s pretty relevant to this crowd that’s listening right now. If you’re talking about, man, you can have a life full of excitement, novelty, and challenge. And if you’re talking about being successful and admired for your achievements, you’re going to lose in this moment. What you have to now get into the weeds if you want on the financial side…
[00:22:47] Brad Johnson: So, Phillip, I mean, I’d call that like aspirational thinking right now.
[00:22:51] Phillip Stutts: Don’t do it. The mindset of everybody right now is safety. Especially in the financial side, you must talk about safety as number one, number two, and number three on your priority list. And if you’re able to say, “Hey, we did this for our customers and we’ll do it for you,” that’s helping others, right? But maybe there’s something you’ve offered to provide safety and annuity but I’m saying like…
[00:23:21] Brad Johnson: I’ve heard a thing or two about those.
[00:23:23] Phillip Stutts: Exactly. But that’s my point. Right now, the message should be, well, the reason we got into the annuity business is for this moment, and these people or this set of customers is doing great right now and they’re safe. They’re not excited.
[00:23:39] Brad Johnson: You know, to throw fuel on that fire a little bit. So, I got in this business in 2007 and just for context for those listening in, Advisors Excel started very much as an annuity brokerage shop. So, safe products that couldn’t lose money in down market times have branched out into life insurance, asset management, where it’s a little bit more holistic wealth management firm now, but I remember a phone call from my mom in ’08, ‘09, Phillip, she’s reading the headlines, right? Great Recession, markets melting down, housings crashing, Lehman Brothers out of business. She’s like, “Brad, are you going to have a job?” And I’m like, “Mom, our business has tripled this year.” And I felt guilty even saying that, but it was because of the flood of fear and greed. It was the flood of fear and to safety. So, everything you’re saying here hits exactly home and we’ve seen that already start to play out in our world on the annuity side as well.
[00:24:33] Phillip Stutts: Yeah. Even if you’re a stockbroker out there right now, there’s a lot of stocks you can be recommending as a safe investment, not a, “This going to make you some money,” and that’s just how you would do it. So, look, I’m all yours. I have data based on sort of media consumption habits, financial habits, like what people that are investors are thinking right now and like what’s their main drivers behind all the things I just said. I’m happy to kind of…
[00:25:00] Brad Johnson: Let’s just do there because I know you’ve got like 41 questions that are all pure gold but let’s just do a case study. Let’s say I’m a financial advisor client, I’m coming to you right now, Phillip, and I’m like, “Okay. You’ve got me at this pest control case study.” You’re now taking over my marketing, Phillip, and you’re my firm. I’m hiring you. This is your advice to me right out of the gates. How are you switching my messaging?
[00:25:23] Phillip Stutts: Well, the first thing I do is overlay your investors and track them specifically for what they do. So, that’s how my model. Sorry. This is a self-promotion but my model is very unique. You have to follow my five-step formula for marketing or I won’t work with you and the Fortune 200 companies that came to us that you have to fill up, you need to fill out this RFP, and I said, “I’m not doing it,” and then they still hired us. So, first of all, I need to get a unique understanding of your investor. They’re going to have these qualities we’re talking about, but there’s going to be nuances within that list. It could be you have a list of investors in Chicago. That’s going to be very different than the investors in New York.
[00:26:11] Brad Johnson: Let me give you kind of the avatar, most of this audience is working with retirees. So, they’re not working with the 25-year-old executive. They’re working with the retirees, which quite honestly is extra fearful right now. You know, they’re right on the verge of retirement. Maybe they just retired.
[00:26:27] Phillip Stutts: Sure. So, the first thing if I’m looking at this data, I’m going to tell you right now that if you have any marketing whatsoever up right now, I would pull it down and I would tell you that what is working more than anything else on the traditional media platforms are two things, TV ads on local news. Because here’s what’s happening, 20.5% of all Americans right now are watching local news because they trust, we’re going back to the word trust, they trust local news more than they do the cable networks. So, if I am to combine headline news, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, that also equals 20% of the American population right now. So, local news is equaling headline news, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News combined in viewership right now.
So, your local TV station or your local networks, you know, I know you guys do a lot of the sort of infomercial stuff is where it should be but you’ve got to change everything you’ve done and you need to go and figure out a new message for it. In the ads, you have a new message.
[00:27:43] Brad Johnson: Phillip, real quick on there. What’s the normal? Is it normally equal ratio? What’s the normal and regular everyday life?
[00:27:49] Phillip Stutts: Everyday life I’d probably put it 25% all the cable networks and local news would be about 10%, maybe 5%. So, we’ve seen a doubling because people are saying it’s not that they’re not watching Fox News and all that. It’s what they’re saying is I trust my local news right now more than I do the national news. The national news is going to be Trump’s screwing up, Trump’s the greatest. It’s going to be one or the other. Actually, I just want the facts. So, I’d go to my local news. I’m going to get the facts. And that’s where the eyeballs are going right now.
[00:28:23] Brad Johnson: The other thing, as you think about that, it’s also like the local report on the cases like what’s the ramping of the coronavirus locally?
[00:28:29] Phillip Stutts: That’s right. Correct. If I’m to look at social media right now, especially amongst retirees, it’s Facebook.
[00:28:38] Brad Johnson: Facebook is the only one or like…
[00:28:40] Phillip Stutts: Well, people are consuming Facebook to get news and credible information and they are doing it at 12% of the American population right now. That’s a huge, huge number. You can say 12%, that’s not a lot. But I’m telling you, that is a massive number if you look at it. Another number that’s big is YouTube. YouTube’s at 5.3% but do I think retirees are hanging out on YouTube? Probably not. Unless their grandchildren are like, “Hey, Papi, look at this video I want to watch,” and then you have to watch an ad before they watch video. So, the other thing I would tell you is traditional newspapers because, again, your local newspaper. It’s not just local TV. It’s local news. That is a great thing. And then I’m going to tell you something that maybe a lot of you have done in the past but will work like crazy right now is direct mail, glossy direct mail.
As my wife told me the other day, my favorite part of the day is I get out of the house from homeschooling, and I get to walk to the mailbox and see what came. People are really excited for mail right now and we’re seeing that across the board. And so, if you’re trying to get a message out, either to your current class of clients or new clients, these are the places I would look at. And this is a broad overview, right? If I looked at one of your financial advisors in Chicago, I’d probably have a few more granular nuggets of information that I could hone that in a little bit more, as opposed to where people are in New York. Look, we charge our clients between $5,000 and $10,000 for this data, and I’m handing it to you for free. So, you get this and implement it in whatever way you want.
[00:30:34] Brad Johnson: Do you have any data on radio, traditional, or podcasting?
[00:30:41] Phillip Stutts: Podcasting has gone down.
[00:30:43] Brad Johnson: Really?
[00:30:43] Phillip Stutts: By 20%.
[00:30:46] Brad Johnson: What’s the reasoning behind that?
[00:30:47] Phillip Stutts: People are not in their cars right now. The lack of people in automobiles is causing a massive crash between radio, I mean, not in advertising, on radio, and on podcasts.
[00:31:03] Brad Johnson: Which makes sense because that’s the beauty of audio is multitasking. I can drive and listen. I can’t drive and watch YouTube right now. So, basically, visual content, video is going up, audio is going down.
[00:31:16] Phillip Stutts: The other thing that’s going up now, I don’t have age brackets on this, but what has gone up is what’s called OTT. Let me explain what OTT is. Now, this is in this data that I’m giving you. OTT is called over the top. So, are you a cord cutter, Brad, or do you have cable TV?
[00:31:33] Brad Johnson: You know, it’s funny back to once you hit at the beginning of this looking at subscriptions, my wife and I have been talking about cord-cutting forever and I literally just canceled dish.
[00:31:41] Phillip Stutts: Yep. So, I cut the cord about a year ago and OTT is over the top. So, it goes over the top of cable. I use my internet feed and I have YouTube TV. I have Hulu Live, YouTube Live, and I pay probably more than I did before cable and I pay for Disney+ and I pay for Prime and I pay for Netflix and HBO and I do it all separately now, right? But I’m insanely happy. I never have to deal with a cable company again. It’s the greatest and I like sports and nothing changed for me. So, that was the only thing that held me back for all these years. But the point is, is that OTT has exploded. It is almost 30% of the entire population right now.
[00:32:22] Brad Johnson: So, real quick, define OTT, Over The Top, but what do you mean by that?
[00:32:25] Phillip Stutts: Over the top, so it’s like this. It is all just based on your IP address from your cable operator. So, if I’m watching live Hulu, which gets live local stations, which gets ESPN and all the cable channels I liked in the past, YouTube TV does it too, Roku does it as well. And I’ll pull up this stuff and say it but if I’m to look at all that, I watched those through my internet connection. As a marketer, it’s like a thumbprint. Each household, it’s got an individual IP address, right?
[00:33:03] Brad Johnson: Got it.
[00:33:04] Phillip Stutts: And what I can do is if I – this is much more complicated. For the local financial investor, it’s not probably good, it’s expensive, right? But if you got a big company, it’s the most efficient way to market right now. So, Brad, I could know who you are and I could run an ad on your house if you’re an internet-connected Over The Top TV watcher.
[00:33:26] Brad Johnson: Okay. All right.
[00:33:27] Phillip Stutts: And your next-door neighbor would not get the same ad watching the same shows. And let’s say you and your family are sitting down, you’re going to watch American Idol tonight, and because it’s live TV, there are ads, just like cable TV. I can run a specific ad only to your household because I’ve targeted you and I know you’re in my target pool. But the great thing about it is that I can also utilize your phone because it also has the same IP address and your tablets. So, I’m doing big screen and small screen only to the people that I’m targeting, not to the mass audience which is the way you do cable.
[00:34:07] Brad Johnson: Wow. So, basically, it’s the same concept that’s been on YouTube forever. Based on my viewing profile, “Hey, he’s watched five workout videos in a row, okay, well here’s this workout, home gym thing I’m going to have,” because they know exactly what my behavior is where old school terrestrial TV same ad to everybody. So, now you can alter a target then based on their…
[00:34:31] Phillip Stutts: I’ll give you an example. We worked for a Fortune 200 company and the NBC Nightly News had run a negative story on their company. I’m about to blow everybody’s mind. This will freak everybody out. I love it as a marketer but this is really freaky. I was able to go not only to the Hulus of the world, these companies, the take-outs. I was also able to go to like the TV makers, Vizio, Samsung, and I was able to ask them who in your TV sphere or your apps, your Hulu apps, or your YouTube TV, who watched the NBC Nightly News story on that company? And then they gave us the data and then we were able to do a counter ad, getting our side of the story to only the people that watched the NBC Nightly News and watched that story. That’s how efficient it is. And what I’m telling you right now…
[00:35:27] Brad Johnson: It’s fascinating and scary all at the same time.
[00:35:29] Phillip Stutts: Correct. I mean, I think it’s amazing. And I’ve been attacked because I’ve told this story on Altucher’s Show podcast, but my thing is like, no, people have a right to defend themselves in these moments. That’s kind of what this country is about. And I like it. So, my point is this. Two months ago, that was a luxury and now for a lot of companies, that offering is a necessity. The amount of cord-cutting has exploded. The people that are living on apps right now and watching Disney+ and things like that has exploded.
[00:36:00] Brad Johnson: I don’t want to get down in the weeds because we could get very down in the weeds here and there’s so much other stuff. We’ve got to get to data. But okay, so I think most financial advisors that are listening in, they’ve seen this shift from brick-and-mortar to digital. Hey, I sent out direct mail to get people to come to Ruth’s Chris for a dinner event. Now, I’ve run Facebook ads to get them to go to that same event, right? So, they get it. They get the shift. I mean, it’s not that complicated to say, “Okay, I get on Facebook. I create an ad. I pay Facebook money and they put that ad in front of people in their newsfeed.” I mean, that’s basically what you’re doing now with TV and Hulu and YouTube and serving ads. Is there like a dashboard that you go on to? And it’s like, well, here’s the spend and now it runs on all of these, what do you call them again? Over the…
[00:36:49] Phillip Stutts: Over the top, OTT. Yeah, it is. We have partners that do this. We built partnerships with the sort of people that can aggregate this and create dashboards for us and our clients to see as they do these things. So, that exists.
[00:37:06] Brad Johnson: Do you have to go directly to Hulu and say, “Hey, here’s our media spend like an NBC, ABC?”
[00:37:12] Phillip Stutts: No. You do with Disney. They make you go through them but Hulu, Roku, YouTube TV, nope. We follow the IP addresses, so we follow the individual thumbprint of the people we’re targeting. And if they’re not on YouTube TV, then we know that we can target them through another mechanism.
[00:37:32] Brad Johnson: Is this standard? I mean, like if they get from like AT&T Wireless or is this just specific, like more digital tech companies like Hulu and YouTube that have this availability?
[00:37:43] Phillip Stutts: Everybody’s got it.
[00:37:45] Brad Johnson: Really?
[00:37:46] Phillip Stutts: And by the way, this is what all the Fortune 200 companies do. So, I’m telling you how they run their business. But if you don’t have that kind of money, I’m giving you other insights in here that you can do.
[00:37:58] Brad Johnson: So, last question on this, and then I want to get back to the data. If I was a financial advisor, and I said, “Phillip, that’s brilliant. I want to do that,” how cost-prohibitive is this?
[00:38:08] Phillip Stutts: It just depends on how big a market you’re trying to reach. So, it would need more of a statewide or regional market rather than the local.
[00:38:15] Brad Johnson: So, if I’m in Chicago and I’ve got like say I want to market to Chicago, does that make sense? Is it going to be like I just had to drop 100K?
[00:38:23] Phillip Stutts: Yeah. I mean, it’s expensive, but think you’re paying for efficiency. You could spend a lot less on cable TV. You’re going to get maybe 5% of the people are going to be in your target and maybe 1% or 5% will respond. Here, you get 100% efficiency. So, pick your poison is my point.
[00:38:43] Brad Johnson: Yeah. Let’s get back to the data.
[00:38:46] Phillip Stutts: I’m going to get back to the financial data of what investors are thinking about right now. So, the question is Question 23. And by the way, you can find this. We can repeat it 1,000 times. You go to WinBIGMedia.com/COVID. There’s a tab on WinBIGMedia.com that you can just go to there and just click on it and then download it. But Question 23, the question is as a result of the coronavirus situation, to what extent are you concerned about? And the question that’s relevant in this one is personally suffering economic loss, investment lost, and lost wages. And what we’re finding right now is that from a moderate to a large extent, it equates to about 60% of all Americans right now. Now, the longer this thing goes on, that 60 is going to go to 70 and 80 and 90. That’s a trend that’s going in one direction, one direction only. Let me just go through these and then I’ll take…
[00:39:42] Brad Johnson: So, 60% are concerned about financial loss right now?
[00:39:45] Phillip Stutts: Correct. And that was as of about a week ago. Okay. The next question, as a result of the coronavirus situation, how will your likelihood of doing the following change? Okay. So, selling stocks right now, there is a high likelihood that 27% of people are at least thinking about selling stocks. 55% are remaining about the same. That’s a really good sign that there’s not as much panic as there has been in the past. There is also optimism that this thing by May 1, we’re going to be at least starting to get back to the economy again. The same question, as a result of the coronavirus, what is your likelihood of doing the following buying stocks? Buying stocks right now is 15%. 15% is more likely to buy stocks right now. This sounds obvious to anybody who’s running a financial. This is the data you’re already seeing. I get that.
My point is this. Everybody is in safe mode. And so, if you want to get people to buy stocks and you don’t want people to sell stocks, you got to talk about, first of all, I care about your safety and you’re safe and when you see deals, you don’t need to say, “Hey, this is a deal.” And when this thing comes back, you’re going to make a lot of money. No. You say, “I’m protecting and rebalancing your portfolio,” so you make gains over the long haul, and we get everything back that you’ve lost. But you’re using the message of safety, not the message of growth. Nobody wants growth right now, just like nobody wants to see somebody in their bathing suit on a boat, having fun right now. It’s the same thing if you think about it.
[00:41:35] Brad Johnson: So, I mean, some simple math. It’s 2:1 sell-to-buy right now is the ratio.
[00:41:40] Phillip Stutts: Yep.
[00:41:40] Brad Johnson: Any idea context of if had you done this, like before the COVID-19 what the typical ratio was before that?
[00:41:47] Phillip Stutts: Completely flipped. That’s what I’m telling you. I mean, if you came out with a message of, “Hey, I want to keep your family safe and that way you can help others, help your family because you’ll have this portfolio that won’t lose money and you can trust me,” I would have laughed at you. Like, it’s good that that’s the foundation of your business. It’s the foundation of my business. It’s the foundation of this podcast. Serve others. Make sure that they trust you. Trust is a lead-in to safety. Brad, I get that, like I am the same way, but my message to my clients over the last few years has been, “Let’s grow. Let me show you how big you can get.” That’s not what people want. And so, my thing is to say you can grow in this moment. This is an opportunity. Your business is going to stay safe. And you can help your company and your customers and let me show you how.
[00:42:41] Brad Johnson: Yeah. I was joking with one of our clients today. They’re like, “Wow, annuities are sexy again. It only took a decade.” But, I mean, that’s it right there.
[00:42:51] Phillip Stutts: Certainly. One other thing and that same question, I think is really interesting. The question is what’s the likelihood that you will now refinance your mortgage? That’s 35% of all homeowners right now are about to refinance their mortgage or thinking about it. So, if you’re in the refi business or you invest in those types of things, that is going to be obviously a great way to look at it. 35% is a ton. I mean, that was like at 5% six weeks ago.
[00:43:23] Brad Johnson: I mean, even as a financial advisor, most of our clients, they’re not in that business but if you put that into the messaging, hey, three things to be thinking about as you consider refinancing your home, that’s going to be very attractive.
[00:43:34] Phillip Stutts: That is brilliant. That’s a great way of putting it, Brad. I’m telling you, show people you’re the expert. You don’t have to go out with a baseball bat or a bow and arrow or an arrow to the bullseye. You can be just the expert that they ultimately trust. Sending out an email to your investors or your clients or your customers and saying, “Three things to avoid right now,” elevates you into a position where they see you as safety, trust, and helping them. Do you see what I’m saying? Like that is a massive thank you. That is a great tactic. Doesn’t cost you anything. Do that consistently and even better, record it and do a video of yourself saying, “Hey, I know we’re going through this. I just want to shoot you a quick message. Here are three things I’m seeing that no one else is seeing right now that you should be doing.” Now, that is going to be incredible and then post it up on Facebook, put some money behind it. That is incredibly powerful.
[00:44:34] Brad Johnson: Okay, So, I want to hit the – dude, this could be like an eight-hour podcast. I’m trying to jam-packed so much in this.
[00:44:41] Phillip Stutts: Well, I’ve got one more on the financial side, and then I’m done.
[00:44:44] Brad Johnson: Okay, go there and then let’s circle back around. I want to throw something.
[00:44:47] Phillip Stutts: I think this is the most important. As of about April 1, I’m sorry, about April 3 or 4, we’re looking at 55% of all Americans are now relooking at their budgets and monitoring expenses. I can tell you that in the last week, that number probably has gone up even more. And it’s either in a lot of it is cutting budgets, okay? If I’m to look at spending habits, and this all goes back to what we’re talking about, 62% of people are decreasing their spending habits right now. Now, again, that was a week ago. So, that number has probably gone up even more. Finally, saving, people are either remaining neutral on saving or saving more at a clip of 11, 28, 33, so basically, about 80% right now.
[00:45:41] Brad Johnson: 80% of the population is saving more?
[00:45:44] Phillip Stutts: Is looking at saving more than anything else they’re doing right now.
[00:45:47] Brad Johnson: Wow.
[00:45:48] Phillip Stutts: So, when you say if you want to be safe, that’s part of the root of the word. So, I’m telling you, this is just can’t miss. You can’t miss with it and your message helping others, preserving safety, and being dependable and trustworthy. That’s what you have to be right now and that’s what’s your message has to be.
[00:46:12] Brad Johnson: So good. Now, I see why you said Mark Cuban said this was so fascinating because, I mean, no wonder Gary Vee’s got you coming on, whenever, like next week or so. This is insanely good.
[00:46:24] Phillip Stutts: Well, it’s funny. With like Gary Vee, I don’t know if anybody knows him out there that that’s listening, but if you do, he’s got a lot of these influencers that are out of business. Like they’re gone forever like those are a lot of his followers. So, it’d be an interesting conversation when I bring that up to him.
[00:46:40] Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, as soon as that goes live, please email me a link because I cannot wait to listen.
[00:46:46] Phillip Stutts: Yeah. Absolutely.
[00:46:48] Brad Johnson: Okay. So, let’s go back. I’m going to set a framework and I want you to just give me your honest feedback, which I know you’re a straight shooter so you will. Here’s my thought process. My thought process is as a financial advisor, let’s just paint the picture of what most of our clients do. They’re working with retirees. They’re building holistic plans that incorporate tax planning, estate planning, financial planning, and it’s asset management. It’s annuities for income planning. It’s all of that. To me, the product, the value prop to their clients has not changed. A holistic plan, if anything, is more important going through the context of what we’re going through right now than it’s ever been but yet, once again, back to that tone-deafness, if I’m going out there, and I’m like, “Hey, Social Security planning strategies for retirees,” like I have the last five years, you’re going to get no eyeballs whatsoever right now.
So, the theme I’m hearing is we need to take what we’ve always done back to your pest control case study and put it in the wrapping paper, the messaging that everybody’s thinking about that’s completely shifted overnight and now we need to kind of repackage it, but technically the product doesn’t necessarily change. Would you say that’s a fair assessment?
[00:48:03] Phillip Stutts: Totally. I’m going to tell you how you should do it right now from a strategic. I just gave you a million tactics but I’ll tell you strategically how you should look at those. Do not call people and ask them to spend any money or re-evaluate. I mean, let’s go through this portfolio. Set them up. Let’s just take your example. Send them an email or give them a phone call and say, “I have three things you got to do right now. I don’t want anything. I just want to give you value right now.” Give people value without expectations. Give your clients value without expectations. Do it for a month. Do it for two months. You may have to call them and ask them to reorganize their portfolio or buying. I get that but I’m saying like in an ideal world, just go give them value because ultimately in their brains, they’re going to be like, “Man, Brad is really helping me right now and he hasn’t asked for anything. He’s not selling me anything. I really trust him.”
And they’re going to reach out to you proactively or in about five or six weeks, you’re going to be able to go, “Hey, by the way, I just saw this opportunity that we can do this one thing that I think will be incredibly safe for you, will help your family.” And by the way, you’ve already built the trust because you’ve just given them all this value and set them up. Now, that sounds calculated. Frankly, it’s just the right thing to do. It’s the right way to be. And it’s why I’m giving this data away right now which we typically, I mean, I charge my clients $5,000 to $10,000 for it. I’m not asking anybody to reach out to me. If nothing comes to this, I just feel like a year from now, I’ll be like, “I helped some people. That’s really cool.”
[00:49:33] Brad Johnson: Completely agree.
[00:49:33] Phillip Stutts: If people coming, “How can you help me?” Cool. Well, we’ll talk about that. That is not why I’m doing it. And that’s a metaphor for you and if you’re listening to this right now, go provide help in this moment where people are scared. People hate uncertainty. They hate it. Everybody that’s a financial advisor listening right now knows this very well. People hate uncertainty. Don’t go and give them more uncertainty. Give them some certainty right now. They’re dying for safety and trust. They want to help their family and give them that and then trust me on this, it’s a long term play and you’ll win in the end.
[00:50:11] Brad Johnson: So, just recorded a podcast. Somebody you should connect with because they’re good people, Bryan and Shannon Miles ran BELAY, which was a virtual assistant. One thing that they did, and I’m seeing a common theme, I’m seeing it from you. I’m seeing it from people like them. I’m seeing it from Pete Vargas if you know him. He’s got a Rise Up free. He’s getting a bunch of thought leaders that they’re just serving and going out there and saying, “You know what, I’m not charging for this. This isn’t a course. It’s not behind a paywall.” And the thing right now is if you go out and serve, people are going to remember it and it’s going to come back 10X because it’s how you showed up in the low point versus back to the like your whole influencer story. Everybody can make money there but those that show up right now, the brand, the equity created even if to your point, it’s a break-even or even a loss quite honestly, it’s going to come roaring back.
[00:51:04] Phillip Stutts: Even if it’s a 10% loss, it’ll be a 2X to 10X return on investment in two years. When I went through this with Cuban, he went, “Well, good for me,” because I built this foundation of helping others and trust and dependability and safety. I built that in all of my companies.” And I said, “That’s right.” When I taught to all of these, you know, Altucher like, and Gary also, they actually have built their brands on the same thing. They’ve been able to explode their brands, but all of them, every one of them has told me because I’ve had like 10 of these massive entrepreneurial influencers come to me and say, “In the last two years, I’ve leveled out. I can’t grow my brain anymore,” and that’s because you have a million people fighting for the space and they built their brand at an exponential rate and then all of a sudden just everybody stalled, everybody.
This is the moment that they’re doubling down because they’re about to take another big step forward because they built it on trust and safety and helping others like Gary Vee and like Altucher, Mike Dillard who we talked about, and Jay Abraham and all these guys, and Peter Diamandis, all these people that I’m talking to right now. They’re primed to grow in this moment. And if you’re a business owner or financial investor out here and you have that foundation, you have to see this as an opportunity and not as something that’s horribly wrong with your business because it is an opportunity.
[00:52:32] Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, let’s go back to kind of the tone-deaf and the opportunity because I completely agree with you. Like overnight, it’s like it’s a blue ocean again and those that did go out there and serve are going to come out of this thing amazingly well. And one of my mentors says, “Anytime you’re faced with adversity, don’t ask yourself why me? Flip the script. What does this make possible?” There’s so much possible right now. So, let’s go to I see these themes like for example, one of them like COVID Conversations, right? I love that plan words because it’s kind of like candid conversations except COVID Conversations. And so, if you’re a financial advisor out there right now, and you just said I want to go out and serve, and you are my guy, would you be live streaming daily onto a Facebook page talking about these opportunities? “Hey, three things to consider during your refi mortgage. Three ways to limit losses in your portfolio during the COVID-19 crisis.” Like if you were going to lay out a marketing strategy, some few ideas?
[00:53:33] Phillip Stutts: I think you reach out and connect with them personally and convey that a message like, “Hey, I know some…” By the way, take this dang data report and repurpose it for free and tell whether it’s retirees who have investments in companies or if they’re business owners, or if they have whatever and say, “Let me give you some insight on what’s going on in the economy right now.” I just gave you a 30-page report that you could take to any client right now if you digested this, and then said, “I have some information.” By the way, information, that is what everybody wants right now. They want hope. They want to know that we’re going to be okay. If you can just do that and how often, depends on the person, how often have they done it in the past? I have a friend of mine, he sells insurance. He emails once a month all his clients, I’m on his email list, and it says, “Your monthly insurance news.” Who reads that? No one’s reading that like it’s worst thing ever.
[00:54:33] Brad Johnson: Have you not told your friend? Have you not reached out to him and give him?
[00:54:36] Phillip Stutts: I’ve tried. There’s nothing I can do. You have to make it interesting right now because people are dying for information that’s going to keep them in their certainty. You want to meet that need. So, I think providing value, I think doing it over the phone or on video is incredibly effective right now. You got to figure out how many times you need to do it and how often.
[00:54:59] Brad Johnson: I love the idea. If you take nothing else if you’re a financial advisor, and one of your niches you want to attack are business owners, which most advisors do because they tend to do well for themselves, just take the data and then go call up a client say, “Hey, here’s what we’re seeing. Here are some ideas around your business right now.” That’s gold right there.
[00:55:19] Phillip Stutts: And you think it’s just clients? You got prospects. Go to all your prospects and say, “I have something that nobody else has right now.” I promise you, you will get your foot in the door and two, three times as many easier than you have in the past. You have something that they want right now in your hands. Use it.
[00:55:41] Brad Johnson: Okay. Let’s go back high level again. You hit kind of, I think you said 41 questions are in this report. You hit the three or four that specifically talked more on the financial the investment side. Let’s zoom back out. I know you’ve got political data. You run a political company and a company that serves, obviously, business. If you were to just cherry-pick some of the most interesting things as you go through those 41 questions that just kind of blew your mind whether it’s politically subscription, media, streaming, social, what are the big takeaways there that the audience might find interesting?
[00:56:15] Phillip Stutts: So, the TV’s on retail. Do you have a subscription or a membership to any of the following? Two months ago, we saw 30% of the US population in TV subscriptions streaming like we talked about earlier. Today it’s 53%. Almost doubled in a matter of a month. It’s so fascinating to me. Here’s another one that’s interesting and this goes back to fear. Canceled a subscription-to-a-service, for example like a meal kit delivery. And we are seeing right now that that is holding steady. About 80% of people are not canceling or have no intention to cancel, 20% are. And then I’m trying to think.
[00:56:57] Brad Johnson: Do you have anything on that front on like delivery services? Because I’ve seen on some of the investment sides of some of these like grocery delivery services, Uber Eats, they’re like skyrocketing in demand.
[00:57:07] Phillip Stutts: Start of a subscription-to-a-service, a meal kit like meal kit delivery, that has not grown. You’re either in that market already or you just haven’t. So, the new starts, about 10% growth. By the way, let me give an example on the messaging front for that. So, Uber Eats all these apps, Grubhub, everybody that delivers food, they’re not saying right now, “Coronavirus! Hire us. We’ll bring you food.” They’re saying, “We will deliver food and drop it at your door and you don’t have to see the delivery person. We’ll keep you safe.” And I’m getting an update on my delivery food services about every three days, about a 10% off coupon. They don’t need to do that right now but they see the opportunity to get people in the door and build a larger portfolio of customers even if they’re going to lose in the first purchase but they know in the second purchase they’re going to start making money and over the lifetime value of that client, they’re going to make a ton of money.
[00:58:04] Brad Johnson: Make sense. Land grab right now.
[00:58:06] Phillip Stutts: Yep, land grab. Huge. Huge.
[00:58:09] Brad Johnson: All right, keep rolling. This stuff is so good.
[00:58:12] Phillip Stutts: Man, okay, so we’ve got opinion of Donald Trump. It is gotten better by an unbelievable 27% of Americans had improved their position, their thinking of Trump. So, that is, do you think higher level of him now? Not, do you like him or do you not like him? Not, does he have 50% approval or 42% approval? Just in general in the population, 27% have a higher opinion of him right now than they did two weeks ago. Even if they hate him, they mildly hate him now like it improved.
[00:58:53] Brad Johnson: Why do you think that is?
[00:58:55] Phillip Stutts: Because he’s going on TV every day.
[00:58:57] Brad Johnson: Got it.
[00:58:58] Phillip Stutts: And he is the loudest voice in the room. And people are saying it’s going to backfire on him. It has not backfired on him. People are literally saying I don’t need to be offended by everything right now. I need to listen and see what he says and give me news and hope. His brand has done well because you may say he’s up there promoting these medical treatments that aren’t proven but ultimately, what’s flooding the subconscious of the brain of all these people, whether they hate him or love him is he’s giving us hope right now when no one else is. Dr. Fauci is saying, “Maybe we should never shake hands again.” Like, that’s not what Trump’s doing. People don’t want a society where you can’t shake hands for two years or five years or maybe forever. Like Trump, regardless of your thoughts on him, regardless of what you think of him morally, he’s out there being hopeful and that is resonating. That’s a fact. I’m not stating an opinion. I just want to say that.
[00:59:55] Brad Johnson: But the other thing which is a huge lesson for our space, we’ve been, I don’t know how many phone calls I’ve done with our clients over the last two, three, four weeks, now is the time where you quadruple down on communication, you lean in, you over-communicate. There’s a framework there. Trump’s on every single day. You might not agree with what he’s saying but he’s over-communicating. You as a financial advisor, if you’re now showing up and communicate, communicate, communicate, I see the same kind of principle working in our space.
[01:00:26] Phillip Stutts: Yeah, but don’t sell. Communicate value. It’s never been more important. And so many financial advisors out there is like, “That’s what I’ve been doing for all these years.” Well, guess what? It’s going to mean something now. It’s going to really mean something. It’s going to break through the clutter.
[01:00:40] Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, and I also think it’s kind of a light shines brightest in the dark room. If you look at love him or hate him, Trump, and that’s pretty much that in our society today, they love him or hate him, he’s getting on there and he is giving a positive message even if some people would argue is maybe not as accurate as it should be. But back to the advisor, if you’re sitting in there where they’ve just been bombarded with negative news and now, you’re like, “Hey, this too shall pass. Here are some strategies to safety.” Double down on that message, you’re going to be the bright light in that dark room and that’s going to resonate with people.
[01:01:17] Phillip Stutts: So, this is about to be mid-April. If you had gone to that message to all of your clients, financial client, anybody that invested with you on March 23, and you got them to buy things in the stock market at low prices, then I know things will change. But as of April 10, April 11, April 12, how would you be looked at? Well, you’d be looked at pretty good because the market has done unbelievable in the last couple of days. Again, I understand it fluctuates but if that message had been utilized and people go, “Okay, it’s a safe time to get back in,” they would be very satisfied right now in this moment. And then you can always reposition them after all the highs that we’ve had lately. You can always go, “Alright, let’s rebalance you now and let’s take some of that off the table and let’s go put it into some other safer things.” And then all of a sudden, you’re moving again, man. You’re buying again. You got them on board again. They’re not acting in fear anymore.
And so, yeah, I mean, you have to pick it. Look, you can go through the data. There’s a ton more in here on American sentiment, on politics, on retail sentiment, utilize it to your advantage, and then take it to people who need it.
[01:02:26] Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, Phillip, I don’t know that I’ve been more excited on a podcast interview ever because it’s such timely information. It’s gold for those that take this and use it. I mean, I can literally see our clients right now. I’m going to spam this to them and make sure they’re changing their message because there’s so much opportunity out there right now. So, any other closing thoughts on just the data in general? Because I want to close with one or two other ideas.
[01:02:53] Phillip Stutts: No. I mean, if you want really specific industry information based on your portfolio, obviously, we can do that. That costs money. But this should hold you over. If you don’t have the money right now, this will work.
[01:03:09] Brad Johnson: Awesome. Well, thanks. You’re modeling very well what it looks like to go out and just serve and help others because just this conversation by itself will do that. So, all right, buddy, I want to shift and typically the way I close a lot of the podcasts I get into some more of the philosophical questions. We’ve kind of done version 1.0 with that. So, one of the things I just want to hit you as a person and we don’t know each other that well, but that’s kind of cool as I feel like we’ve gotten to know each other.
[01:03:37] Phillip Stutts: Hey, I tried to hang out with you in Topeka. You were too busy that day.
[01:03:42] Brad Johnson: I think I was actually traveling.
[01:03:44] Phillip Stutts: No, I came in to see Cody and I saw you. You were on the phone all the time. So, you’re busy, man. I got it.
[01:03:51] Brad Johnson: No, they had me working. That’s the problem. I need to figure this out. So, let’s go to one of the things that resonated from our last conversation. I mean, it’s the theme of this conversation. How do you show up in the tough times? You’ve got an incurable disease.
[01:04:10] Phillip Stutts: Well, that’s what doctors say.
[01:04:12] Brad Johnson: Okay. How it’s been labeled, thank you. What’s the technical term so you can share it with the audience?
[01:04:17] Phillip Stutts: Of the disease?
[01:04:18] Brad Johnson: Yeah.
[01:04:19] Phillip Stutts: Yeah. It’s called achalasia. I’m from the south. The Northerners call it ey-ka-lay-sha.
[01:04:24] Brad Johnson: Okay. So, speaking to just mindset and how you show up and I saw I think you threw it on Instagram, and it’s been a little bit ago, but you’ve gone into experimental. It’s stem cells. Correct?
[01:04:38] Phillip Stutts: Yes.
[01:04:39] Brad Johnson: And, like, literally, that’s what I love about your mindset. You’re like, “Hey, I’m going to be the guinea pig. I’m going to fight this. I’m going to experiment and hopefully, I can figure something out that can then serve others with this same disease.” How’s that going? Give me an update. What have you learned from it? You’re a super positive guy.
[01:04:58] Phillip Stutts: Yeah. Thanks. I have a rare esophageal disease called achalasia. Basically, the nerves in the muscles don’t work in my esophagus. They’re dead. And so, to eat is very problematic. I’ve had 16 minor procedures on myself because I’ve had three major surgeries. The last surgery, they cut 25% of my stomach out. If you’re watching this on video right now, you see I’m really skinny. God, that’s not ideal for me. Now, they cut 25% of my stomach out. They wrapped it around my esophagus, pulled it straight, and stapled it all together. And one day that wrap will come undone and the doctors have basically said, “You’ve had too many surgeries and we’re going to put you in a feeding tube sometime in the next 10 years.” And so, all the fear we just talked about, that’s how I live my life for a long time and the reason I’m so passionate about not being in fear in these moments because I had to pull myself out of that with this disease. I decided I would try to find a cure to a doctor’s incurable disease, a rare disease, there’s no research dollars behind it.
So, about three years ago, I proclaimed that I would find a cure to this disease in five years and I wrote an article in Inc Magazine and proclaimed it. A very long convoluted story. We may have even gone over it in the first podcast but I found a doctor who said he was open to helping me at Johns Hopkins. We built a team around me. We went through three years of bureaucracy, approval by the FDA, approval by Johns Hopkins itself. And ultimately, last summer, I went in to Hopkins and they extracted stem cells out of my thigh muscle, and the hope is that they would inject them and regenerate the muscles and nerves in my esophagus. That happened last summer in the summer of 2019. On February 17, 2020, so we’re talking less than two months ago, I walked back into Hopkins, and they injected 225 million stem cells into my esophagus, into the eroded regions of my esophagus to regenerate the muscle and try to bring functionality back into my esophagus.
[01:07:00] Phillip Stutts: This has never been done on animals. This has never been done on humans. It’s funny, with all the vaccine trials that are out there on COVID-19 now, they’re using this term, they’re not clinical trials. They’re called compassionate use cases because compassionate use case is actually the first step, and then there’s a second step, then there’s a third step, and then they go through a clinical trial. And I’m laughing because I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s what they call mine. It’s not even a clinical trial. It’s a compassionate use case.” It’s guinea pig, like you said. I’m in the window right now, basically, from about March 17 to May 17, where the muscle should be regenerating, and we should either see results or we should not see results. So, I’m less than a month from sort of where this thing should be kind of moving. I have not seen any results to date. That’s okay. I’m confident I’ll see results at some point. It could be that it heals the esophagus because there’s so much scar tissue in there that blocks so much for me to eat. It could be some functionality in there.
Unfortunately, I was supposed to go back May, in mid-May, and do a bunch of tests to see how it looks. I don’t know if that’ll happen now. Not only not happen, like, I don’t know if it’ll ever happen. I don’t know. I mean, we may not be able to go back in there for like two years, which is a shame but that’s where we are. I never would have gotten this procedure, had it been scheduled for March 17 instead of February 17. So, I’m very blessed that I at least got it done. And so, anyway, that’s sort of the foundation of how I look at everything in my life right now because for years, I sat on the sidelines and felt sorry for myself and didn’t do anything about my own health and my own disruption.
[01:08:37] Brad Johnson: Well, number one, dude, that’s inspirational to me and I know it’s inspirational to people out there listening in, and right now people need inspiration, quite honestly.
[01:08:48] Phillip Stutts: Thank you. Appreciate it.
[01:08:50] Brad Johnson: If the worst thing that comes out of this whole thing is you inspired a bunch of people based on your mindset and your actions that you took where a lot of people would just throw in the towel, that’s pretty badass, man. So, I just want to let you know that from me personally. I also want to put it in the context of this conversation. A lot of people, a lot of advisors right now are looking through that same lens that you probably did when you were first diagnosed, where it was, “Woe is me. I have this whole marketing budget laid out for 2020. This was going to be my year and literally in the blink of an eye, all of that’s gone.”
[01:09:25] Phillip Stutts: It still could be there if they look at it the right way.
[01:09:28] Brad Johnson: Right, exactly. So, give me the framework of maybe more of a mindset thing of here are some lessons I took from this illness that I was faced with, and how that might apply to financial advisors out there that are kind of in that same mindset right now as they look at COVID-19 and not being able to meet with people in person and all of that that goes along with it.
[01:09:49] Phillip Stutts: I mean, I’ll even give you my own brand, which is my whole company is based on my brand. You people buy into me and say, “Whatever you’re selling, I’m buying. Let’s go work together.” And the funny thing is our marketing company has an incredible model to grow businesses but I’m the overshadowing brand and I saw what everything’s going on right now, I went, “God, this is the moment.” We actually can tell the story of our successes as a company, not about me, not make this company about me, but make it about how we grow businesses. And I didn’t think that could happen for a few more years and I thought about it over the last few weeks, and I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to double down so I can transition,” or I can be a supplement to the business, but the business stands on its own because it already is. And so, that’s how I focused it on my own business. And I would tell advisors right now it’s the same thing.
Are your methodologies, are your successes, is it about you or is it about the portfolio? Is it about how you do things? And if you position yourself right now, then you can sort of make – it’s a higher standard if it’s not about you. It’s just a higher standard. And this is a moment that you can do that. And I guarantee you, there’s business development to be had out there that you’re not even thinking through. I don’t know if you’ve ever had Keith Cunningham on your show, or you know who he is, but he is…
[01:11:15] Brad Johnson: I know who he is. I haven’t had him on though.
[01:11:17] Phillip Stutts: Man, he’s a great guy, a mentor to me, but he gave me this process that billionaires taught him and it has been life-changing for me. And it’s one tool. It’s probably the most important tool in my toolbox. I will share it and if you do it, I guarantee you will have massive success, but 99% of people won’t do it because it’s hard and everybody’s looking for the get rich quick pill. But it’s this, I write down a question in a notebook without any devices around me and I sit in a chair, and I don’t go to the bathroom and for 45 minutes I write an answer to that question without break, without any coughing, without any standing up and stretching, I just write. And what happens in that process and this is a process that billionaires always talk about is how they became successful is that the first 15 minutes you write, it’s all the things on the top of your head of answering the question you’re trying to solve, the problem you’re solving.
The next 15 minutes is when you hit a wall. And the strong-minded people push through that wall and keep writing even if it’s frustrating, you can’t think of anything. And then the last 15 minutes, it’s the most pure gold you’ll ever find. ideas come out of your brain that you never thought of, ideas that can give you exponential growth, ideas that can save your company in this moment. And I have done this for years and I did a thing. It’s called thinking time and I did a thinking time about three years ago, and it made my business $2 million when we were starting our company. I’m the one who’s got to solve the problem and I have the best answers. I just have to put my energy and my focus into it. And so, if you’re out there suffering right now, I always say you’re either interested or committed. We work with clients that are committed. If you’re an inch, like, “Oh, I’d love for you to work in my business. I’m very interested,” well, they chase shiny objects. They’re interested until they’re not interested. We literally fired four clients in the last year because we realized we were bringing on people that were interested.
[01:13:20] Phillip Stutts: And I went, “That’s not my model.” My model is people that are all in, chips all in, let’s go build this together, and we do it the right way. And my thing is, if you’re committed to your own growth or safety in this moment, do a thinking time. Go to YouTube and Google Keith Cunningham Thinking Time. He’ll teach you how to do it if my explanation isn’t good enough. It’s the greatest, it’s the most powerful thing I’ve ever done, and it is my favorite thing now. I do it every week.
[01:13:48] Brad Johnson: Got to give yourself space to work on the business versus in the business.
[01:13:51] Phillip Stutts: Totally.
[01:13:51] Brad Johnson: That’s it right there.
[01:13:52] Phillip Stutts: That’s right.
[01:13:52] Brad Johnson: Yeah. And those that do that aren’t just reactive right now and were intentional, back to the messaging and everything we’ve talked about for the last hour plus, man, there’s so much opportunity. I guess I don’t want to discount. I mean, there are people in serious need right now, health, and it’s craziness right now. I think it goes back to the context of this. This is not the time to say, “Hey, let’s go sit on a beach in bikini somewhere.”
[01:14:25] Phillip Stutts: And we all inherently know this right now. There are people hurting right now. But I’m here. My specific reason for being here right now is to help the business owner, the advisor, break through and have a couple of different strategies that gets them to a great, much better place when this thing pans out, when this thing gets moving, when this economy gets moving again. You now have tools, you now have research, you have data that can get you either keep you safe and stable in this moment or give you exponential growth. So, I mean, I can’t do anything about the people that are sick right now. It’s a horrible tragedy that’s going on around the country. All I can do is what my expertise is. And so, hopefully, people will take that and learn from it.
[01:15:10] Brad Johnson: Yeah. And we’ll go back to the messaging. If at a time period like this as an advisor or any business owner, for that matter, if you double down, triple down, quadruple down on efforts, and they are helping others, creating safety, and adding trust, you served others at the highest level when they needed it because all three of those are, I mean, you can look back at this. There was no profiteering like you saw with like the hand sanitizer and the mask. If that’s your message, you’re coming out of this looking like a champion.
[01:15:45] Phillip Stutts: You must be unique and relevant to the customer or the client from their perspective, not yours and those three factors will make you relevant and unique to them.
[01:15:58] Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, my man, that’s two for two crushing. The first time was good but this one you just exceeded expectations on all levels.
[01:16:10] Phillip Stutts: I’m asking you right now, on a third appearance, I’ve got a book comes out in about a year so I want to come back on and talk about the book.
[01:16:16] Brad Johnson: Come on back, dude. You’ve got the golden ticket. So, I just want to say thank you, Phillip. We’re going to get this out. As soon as this video can upload, it’s going to be out there so thank you for such a timely conversation. Thank you for reaching out and just serving and saying, “Here you go. All this is free for your audience. I really appreciate it.” And yeah, dude, other than that, it was good to connect virtually since that’s about all we can do right now.
[01:16:42] Phillip Stutts: That’s right, man. Stay safe and good luck with everything.
[01:16:45] Brad Johnson: All right, Phil. Until next time, buddy.
[01:16:47] Phillip Stutts: See you.
[01:16:52] Brad Johnson: Thanks for listening in to this week’s show. On to this week’s featured review which comes to us from Sal Chatfield. I actually connected with him on Instagram. He dropped me a note out there, said he was really enjoying the podcast. I think he’s also a fellow
CrossFiter. If I remember correctly, his wife runs a CrossFit studio so you should all connect with him and start the conversation out there on Instagram. But he hit me up and said, “Really enjoyed the Kitces interview,” and we traded a few messages on Instagram. And he was kind enough to leave this review, “I’m better for having listened. Five stars. Great content from an amazingly well rounded human being. You can tell from the interviews he is genuinely interested in hearing people’s stories and helping his listeners.” So, that means a lot. That’s who I am. In fact, that’s a lot of why I started this Virtual Advisor Series because I see a lot of need out there for you financial advisors trying to navigate this unforeseen situation going on with the virus out there.
And it’s times like this the true financial advisor stand up. It’s really easy when you’re on the 11-year bull run to be a financial advisor. I shouldn’t say that. It’s never easy, but it’s much easier. And when you have what’s going on right now, a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty, it’s the true financial advisors that stand up. They’re the voice of reason. They’re out there serving, over-communicating with their clients. And quite honestly, if I’m preaching it to my clients, I want to be doing the same on my end. That’s why I’m really trying to step up, overserve, over-communicate, doubling down on episodes right now. And so, when I’ve got guys like Sal out there shoot me messages that are saying that these conversations are resonating, it really keeps me going. And if I’m out there helping you all figure this out, just along with me as I’m figuring it out as well, that’s a win. Together, we can run a lot further.
[01:18:50] Brad Johnson: So, that’s all, guys. I appreciate you listening in. I’m going to be doubling down. So, if you haven’t already, go check out The Virtual Advisor Facebook group. Join in there. I’m going to start live streaming all of these conversations, so you can have access to them immediately as they happen. You don’t have to wait for them to edit all out all my uhms and ahhs. So, it might sound less professional, but the good news is you’ll get it faster. With that, guys, thanks for listening in and I will catch you on the next episode. Take care. Stay safe out there.
[01:19:21] Brad: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint. For access to show notes, transcripts, and exclusive content from our show’s guests, visit BradleyJohnson.com. And before you go, I’ve got a quick favor to ask. If you’re liking the podcast, you can help support the show by leaving your rating and review on iTunes. Not only do we read every single comment, but this will help the show rank and get discovered by new listeners. It really does help. Thanks again for joining and be sure to tune in next week for another episode.
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