In today’s conversation, I’m speaking with The Retirement Answer Man himself, Roger Whitney. Special thanks to my longtime client and friend Jason Parker for playing matchmaker and making the intro happen! So besides being a CFP and having just about every other designation a financial advisor can have after his name, Roger is one of the few financial advisors in the US who has cracked the podcasting code and is actually using his weekly show to drive substantial assets to his firm from all over the country. Not only is Roger landing clients nationwide, but he recently even signed a US citizen living in Burma, so I guess he’s officially gone international! This conversation is a must-listen episode if you are looking to expand your marketing to what I find for most advisors is an unknown digital frontier… podcasting.
Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
- [05:50] Roger shares how his 27 year journey as a financial advisor eventually led to launching a podcast—including the conference that completely changed his life and why it’s critical to learn from outside of the financial services industry.
- [12:01] How a 4 year podcasting experiment lead to gathering $20M+ of new assets in the last 14 months from all over the US—and why most financial advisors are thinking about their marketing all wrong! (hunting/killing Vs. building an orchard)
- [17:10] Roger explains the key differences between radio and podcasting (talking to Vs. talking with) and his advice if you want to create an intimate experience that builds an unbreakable trust with listeners.
- [32:48] The biggest obstacles to going from meeting with people face-to-face, to doing it virtually—including the mindset shift Roger had to make, the tools he uses to make it all possible, and his collaborative approach to planning with his clients.
- [44:23] Roger pulls back the curtain and shares his podcast audience demographics from a recent listener survey. I think you’ll find the results incredibly surprising especially his audience’s average age and net worth!
- [06:12] Find out what led Roger into the world of podcasting.
- [08:32] The conference that Roger attended that completely shifted his way of thinking.
- [15:04] The difference between a hunting/killing mindset vs. building an orchard.
- [15:53] Why building trust is key to growing a business.
- [17:30] How podcasting differs from traditional radio.
- [20:51] Roger’s secrets for cultivating intimacy with listeners.
- [23:14] A unique call to action that made Roger stand out.
- [27:22] Discover Roger’s step-by-step virtual roadmap to streamlining the client acquisition process and tapping into the power of podcasting.
- [32:51] Hear about the biggest challenges Roger faces when it comes to virtual meetings and exactly how he overcomes them.
- [36:08] Why Roger’s podcast is key to building relationships and bringing in more qualified leads than ever before.
- [41:43] What it looks like when Roger signs a new client.
- [44:36] Roger’s tested formula for podcasting as a financial advisor.
- [50:32] The biggest driving factors that Roger uses to increase listenership and grow his online audience.
- [58:32] Hear about how hosting a podcast has completely changed Roger’s life, not just from a business standpoint, but from a personal level.
- [1:04:10] Why Roger wants the current idea of retirement to be absurd in the future.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Rock Retirement: A Simple Guide to Help You Take Control and be More Optimistic About the Future
- Social Media Marketing World
- Zoom Video Communication
- Money For the Rest of Us – People Like Us, Invest Like This
- 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal
PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Jason Parker
- Michael Hyatt (also check out Michael Hyatt on the podcast)
- Dan Miller
- Lou Mongello
- Cliff Ravenscraft
- Duncan MacPherson
- Alan Moore (also check out Alan Moore on the podcast)
- Donald Miller (also check out Donald Miller on the podcast)
- David Stein
- Michael Kitces (also check out Michael Kitces on the podcast)
- Tim Ferriss
- Steve Sanduski (also check out Steve Sanduski on the podcast)
- Jeff Rose
- Ron Carson (also check out Ron Carson on the podcast)
REVIEWS OF THE WEEK
Thanks for checking out the latest show! I really appreciate the reviews as it helps me figure out which guests resonate with you all and helps the show get discovered!
Here are 4 more recent reviews, the first one comes to us from user DunahooA who says:
With all of the amazing podcasts out there, this means a lot. I do my very best to curate and connect with guests I think are going to deliver for you all to keep the show relevant and jam packed with ideas and concepts that are going to help you all take your practices to the next level! Thanks for the incredibly kind words and for listening in!
The next review comes to us from user cjharrison15 who says:
Thank you cjharrison15! In my last decade of consulting, I’ve found one thing in common with the most successful advisors in the industry, whether RIAs or registered reps… they are life long learners and constantly challenge themselves to grow. Glad this is one of the places you come to grab new ideas for your practice, thanks for listening!
Next up is Cyborgwolf-x07 who says (gotta say I love the name, reminds me of that 80’s sitcom Airwolf!)
We work with just about every top insurance company out there on the life and annuity side, so maybe our paths have crossed somewhere over the years, congrats on the jump to the advising side of the world, reach out if there is anything my team or I can do to help. Thanks for tuning in!
And the last featured review for the week comes to us from Emend1234 who says:
Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast with your host, Brad Johnson. Brad’s the VP of Advisor Development and Advisors Excel, the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the US. He’s also a regular contributor to Investment News, the Wall Street Journal, and other industry publications.
[00:00:26] Brad: Welcome to the Elite Advisor Blueprint, the podcast for world-class financial advisors. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of Advisor Development and 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.
Quick special thanks before we get into this, to my client and friend, Jason Parker, for playing matchmaker and making this intro happen. In today’s conversation, I’m speaking with the Retirement Answer Man himself, Roger Whitney. So besides being a CFP and having just about every other designation of a financial advisor can have after his name, Roger is one of the few financial advisors in the US who has cracked the podcasting code and is actually using his weekly show to drive substantial assets to his firm from all over the country. Not only is Roger landing clients nationwide but he recently even signed a US citizen living in Burma. So, I guess he’s officially gone international. This conversation is a must-listen episode if you’re looking to expand your marketing to what I find from most advisors is an unknown digital frontier, podcasting.
Here are a few highlights of what we get into. First, Roger shares how his 27-year journey as a financial advisor eventually led to launching a podcast including the conference that completely changed his life and why it’s critical to learn from outside of the financial services industry. Next, we cover how a four-year podcasting experiment led to gathering 20 million plus of new assets in the last 14 months from all over the US and why most financial advisors are thinking about their marketing all wrong. From there and for you advisors out there with traditional radio shows looking to repurpose this content as a podcast, Roger explains the key difference between radio and podcasting and his advice if you want to uncover the secret to creating an intimate listening experience that builds an unbreakable trust with listeners. Then we hit on the biggest obstacle to going from meeting with people face-to-face to doing it virtually including the mindset shift Roger had to make, the tools he uses to make it all possible and his collaborative approach to planning with his clients.
[00:02:30] Brad: Lastly, Roger pulls back the curtain and shares his podcast audience demographics from a recent listener survey. I think you’ll find the results incredibly surprising especially his audience’s average age and net worth. If you’re listening in on audio, don’t miss our YouTube version as Roger pulls up a video screen share near the end of the call that shares all of his listener stats. Okay. Before we get to the show, Roger went above and beyond for all of you Blueprint listeners by offering you a free download from his just-released book, Rock Retirement. It’s available at BradleyJohnson.com/44 and as always, show notes that include links to all the resources, books mentioned, and people discussed are available there as well. And because I also think Roger’s book is a great example of how to write a purpose-driven book that connects with your ideal prospects as a financial advisor, I want to help him spread his message. I bought a stack of them to mail out to you all.
So, here’s what to do next if you like your free copy. All that I ask is that you leave an honest review out on iTunes for our show. You can visit the link, BradleyJohnson.com/iTunes or if you happen to be listening on a mobile device, it’s usually as simple as scrolling down to the rating section on the show. Once you’ve left a review, just drop us an email via email@example.com with your iTunes username and a mailing address and we’ll drop you a copy in the mail as a thank you. That simple. So, that’s it. As always, thanks for listening and without further delay, my conversation with Roger Whitney.
[00:04:06] Brad: Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint. I have a special guest, Roger Whitney aka The Retirement Answer Man here with us today. Welcome, Roger.
[00:04:17] Roger: Hey. I don’t know if I belong in the elite category, but we’ll take it.
[00:04:23] Brad: Sure, you do. I know we were introduced by a mutual friend, Jason Parker, who set up a kind of get to know you conversation. It was really fun when we got a chance to dig in and still amazingly there’s only a handful of what I would say financial advisors across the entire US that are legitimately doing a podcast and you are one of those guys. So, I’m really excited because we’ve obviously got a lot of financial advisors listening in to this show for you to kind of unveil some of the inner workings of what you’ve figured out along the way to make this thing work.
[00:04:55] Roger: Yeah. It’s a long journey for sure and especially if you’re an advisor because of all the regulatory considerations you have.
[00:05:03] Brad: But, I mean, the other thing that I’m sure we’ll get into, I mean, 13 million of assets gathered last year through your podcast are somewhere around that number. I remember it’s kind of what you said, right?
[00:05:14] Roger: Yeah. We’ve had that already this year.
[00:05:17] Brad: Wow. Man, we’re just hardly kicking off March. That’s incredible. Congratulations on the quick start to the year.
[00:05:23] Roger: Yeah. And what’s great is they end up being the exact people you want to work with which is crazy and they call you.
[00:05:29] Brad: Yeah. We’re going to get into this so let’s not waste any time. Let’s just dig in. So, where I want to start is still and a lot of advisors I think my podcast has been an introduction to podcasting to them and so it’s kind of like this like weird world, this digital marketing stuff that nobody really gets. So, let’s maybe start with a little bit of your story and I would love to hear like were you the typical financial advisor that experimented with traditional marketing, your normal seminars, maybe traditional radio? What was the path that led you into kind of experimenting with this podcast world of about four years ago? I’d love to hear that and let’s take the conversation where it goes from there.
[00:06:14] Roger: Yeah. Well, it’s a long and sorted story but obviously, you can tell. I’m not like the new kid Gen-Xer podcaster, right? I’m 51 years old, not quite a baby boomer and I’ve been an advisor for 27 years. So, this is all I’ve ever done. I worked at a major financial firm and then went independent in ’03 and had a traditional business. It was referral based, centers of influence. I used to teach a university course to adults and that’s how I built a lot of the business. I tried everything, and podcasting is really very new and what ended up happening was finally after trudging through trial and error, got to a critical mass from a business perspective maybe six years ago to where you feel like, “It seems crazy. I’ve been in the business 27 years,” where you feel like you’ve made it where I had some time freedom and I actually had a buddy challenge me about this weird concept of entering your zone of maximum power which is silly.
And when he called me, he was telling me, I was in my mid-40s at the time, where I was highly educated. I got lots of certifications and so on paper, I look really smart. I had less hair, so I looked old enough that people would start listening to me. I looked credible and I had less theory. When you’re young as an advisor, you understand the intellectual part of it, but you don’t really have any built-up wisdom because you haven’t screwed it up enough and I had a lot of that for sure. And then in your mid-40s in our business, you have a 15, 20-year timelines to really accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish. Now you finally hit that zone of all those things coming together and you still have some energy. And I pooh-poohed that and then I started to self-examine what I was doing and I’m like I had a pretty easy life because the business was running. We’re good process people and then like I could sit here, make good money, have lots of fun, and wake up when I’m 60, 65 and say, “Well, that was a cool ride but what did I actually do?”
[00:08:14] Roger: And that’s what started it. And so, I started listening to people like Michael Hyatt, Dan Miller who’s a good friend of mine now and four years ago went to my first ever conference that was not an industry conference. I went to Social Media Marketing World in San Diego which I just came back from and it totally blew my mind because I had only gone to industry conferences and they talk about social media and online stuff, but they really don’t know what they’re talking about in the sense that because they’re coming from a lot of group thing from financial services.
[00:08:50] Brad: So true.
[00:08:51] Roger: Any financial advisor knows we all sound the same. I mean, for the most part, we’re all middle-aged white guys that are all saying save for retirement. We’re all saying the same messages and in Social Media Marketing World which is a conference that has your guy working out of his house marketer all the way down to heads of social media for major corporations and governments, it’s an alive world and there are so much more out there that we didn’t realize. So, that started my journey. I went to as many non-industry conferences, hired my first coach and specifically looked for a coach outside the industry that got all this stuff and that’s sort of how I got into podcast.
[00:09:30] Brad: I’m curious. What gave you the shove to check out the first industry conference? I’m very much the same way. I connected with Michael Hyatt. That was kind of me tiptoeing into this whole podcasting world but what was the driver for you? What got you out of our industry?
[00:09:44] Roger: Well, I started social media. I started like a lot of advisors do of – yeah, I was consuming Michael Hyatt. He is the online mentor and he was my online mentor, so he changed his tagline appropriately because a lot of people feel like that’s how he is and purchased some of his courses and started doing online social media, the Twitter, the Facebook, the LinkedIn, pushing out ideas whether it’s articles. I started blogging in a very rudimentary way and then didn’t really see much results but then it was just the iteration of starting to do that and then exploring more and rather than get frustrated with social media which a lot of advisors do, I just kept iterating and going deeper and that’s what got me to go to Social Media Marketing World and that was like really the watershed event of like this is an awesome community.
I expected a lot of very young, social media types that we think of like our kids and I was exposed to, “Wow. These people have a growth mindset. They’re really creative. They’re super nice. They’re super smart. I want to be around these people.” Whereas sometimes the culture within an office whether you’re an independent advisor or in a major firm, it’s not so much that way sometimes so that’s what a lot of attracted me to it and I just kept iterating.
[00:11:03] Brad: All right. I’m going to share some results in advance but then I’d love to hear you kind of unpack the path that took you here. So, as we were talking, I mentioned a little bit earlier so four years into podcasting, this podcasting experiment that’s turned into something pretty cool for you, last year 2017 13 million of new assets gathered through from all over the country because there is no geographical…
[00:11:29] Roger: Actually, all over the world.
[00:11:31] Brad: All over the world now?
[00:11:32] Roger: Yeah.
[00:11:32] Brad: You went international?
[00:11:34] Roger: Last week I signed a gentleman who is a client and he lives in Burma.
[00:11:39] Brad: Wow.
[00:11:39] Roger: He’s American. They’re all expats so yeah.
[00:11:40] Brad: Very cool. Yeah. That’s a new addition to the story then. And this is what’s interesting. When you get outside of our industry, this isn’t anything that’s crazy when you are in social media world but it’s very crazy when you’re in financial planning world, right?
[00:11:55] Roger: Yeah.
[00:11:55] Brad: So, let’s go down that path of like you said earlier, you made a lot of mistakes along the way. So, you started this podcast experiment. How has it now shifted to where you have people from all over the country listening to you? You’re putting out the recording. They’re contacting you through the website and saying, “Hey, Roger, I think I want to work with you.” That’s a big leap for a lot of people listening in so I would love to hear you just kind of unpack that as how you got there.
[00:12:18] Roger: Yeah. And I think there’s a distinct advantage if you walk this journey because most advisors and most people, in general, don’t get it when they start a podcast. So, I met a gentleman named Lou Mongello who has a Disney podcast and he was a mentor of mine very early on and I met him at Social Media Marketing World. And he gave me some great advice and I probably took it too far. So, for the first two-and-a-half years of doing the show, the way I viewed the show is it’s me talking about what I’m dealing with, with clients every day and refining my message. So, I’m an advisor. I only work with clients over 50. I only focus on people over 50 that are planning for transitioning or living in we’ll call it retirement. I don’t like the word but that’s the word everybody uses. So, I focus on that part of the journey of how do you create a life of more freedom. So, doing the podcast helped me define because those are the clients I work with. I take your best clients and duplicate them but when I started the podcast I viewed the podcast as my way of clarifying what I do and becoming a better advisor because I think out loud.
So, it’s like, “Hey, it’s real simple.” There’s a gentleman called Cliff Ravenscraft, really cool guy. He’s the Podcast Answer Man. I’m like, “Okay. I’m going to be the Retirement Answer Man,” and I gave him a call and asked him if it was okay and he was cool with it, so I defined my niche. And then what I did was when I was dealing with an issue with a client I would just do it on the podcast which helped me clarify my thinking which helped me be more intentional to be a better advisor. So, it was a nice virtuous circle, but I think one thing that I did early on that has really started to pay off now is as an advisor, most of us think of marketing as a hunting and killing type of proposition, post to seminar, get people there, set meetings, close business. So, most advisors because of the horrible way that we have to get into this business which is hunting and killing as far as finding clients, closing business just to make a living and that’s why the dropout rate is so high.
[00:14:20] Roger: You can’t do that in podcasting. It’s a horrible way to do that in podcasting or in content marketing which is why I think a lot of advisors get disenchanted with it. So, what really worked out for me is I was doing the podcast more to serve me and help me hone my craft and I wasn’t expecting anything from it. In fact, I was horrible at even asking and letting people know they could even work with me for like two years which is in hindsight I probably should’ve done that earlier. So, the metaphor I want to stick with though is if you’re going to go down this route of content marketing or podcasting, rather than thinking it was a hunting, killing mentality, you really have to think about it like you’re building your orchard. So, think about that. Hunting and killing, I’m hungry, I go kill a squirrel and I eat it. I go find a client, I close it. I get revenue. With podcasting or any kind of content marketing, if you’re building an orchard, what do you have to do? You got to plant trees, you got to plant the apple trees. You got to shovel the manure. You got to prune. How quickly do you get a harvest? You don’t. For seasons, right?
And I think that’s how I treated this journey on podcasting and it served me very well because now, metaphorically, I’m at the point of I’m getting apples and as I figured out how to harvest because I didn’t know how to harvest online before, now I built up so much know, like, and trust in the people that listen to me, apples just started falling and actually falling to where what happens in an apple orchard, “Somebody wants some freaking apples? I can’t eat all these apples.” But I think that’s how you have to approach this especially podcasting because you have to build up the trust and you’re not going to do that if you’re trying to close business. So, that’s the journey I went on. So, at the beginning I think because of Lou and some others, I had the right mindset and then that gives you some time to find your voice but it also gives you time to figure out the funnel of how do you actually give someone confidence to reach out to you that’s five states away and transfer money to you when they’ve never actually met you.
[00:16:21] Roger: So, I think that’s how you have to approach it and that’s how I’ve approached it. So, I feel like I unintentionally was not very intentional on the business end of it on the front end, but I think it’s really served me well because I’m much more involved in what I’m doing.
[00:16:34] Brad: Or you focused on just putting out valuable content that served your audience so that your audience grew and stuck around and now you’re saying, “Hey, if you’ve liked this, you can actually reach out and I can work with you directly.”
[00:16:44] Roger: Yeah. I think the podcast and the emails and the webinars. I just love on people and I do it as authentically as I can and over time you’ll find your tribe.
[00:16:55] Brad: Yeah. Okay. So, a lot of our listeners and I’ve been dying to ask you this question because I’m intrigued. Did you ever do traditional radio before you got into podcasting?
[00:17:06] Roger: Never.
[00:17:07] Brad: No? Okay. So, you hopped right in. So, we’ve got a lot of clients that I would say are more on the traditional sense where they’re on, look, I’m sure there in your market. You’ve got some advisors in the radio that have the hour-long show on Saturday morning or whatever it may be. So, I’ve seen a lot of advisors that say they have a podcast and here’s what their podcast is. It’s their hour-long radio show basically copied and pasted into their podcast with probably horrible SEO where if you’ve even searched your name, you can’t even find them on the podcasting app, but they basically say, “Hey, I’ve got a podcast now.” In my book that’s not really a podcast. So, if you were an advisor that had a traditional radio show and knowing the podcasting world and how it’s just raw or it’s more authentic, it’s more of a conversation like we’re having here, how would you translate a radio show into a podcast? Does that even work?
[00:18:01] Roger: Well and that was Jason’s journey, our friend, because he has a radio show and that’s originally what he did. That’s a really good question because I think of radio as talking to, right? It’s broadcasting to, and I think the more successful podcast that I’ve listened to and hopefully mine is one of those is talking with, and I think that’s the main difference that you’re getting to is if you just take your talking-to audio from a radio and just put it into podcasting, you’ll have listeners but it’s going to lose its special sauce because the real specialness of podcasting to me is the intimacy. So, when I’m talking like right now you and I talking but really, ideally, you and I and whoever is listening we’re talking together and it’s much more raw, it’s much more real, and it’s much more intimate and I think that’s the specialness. It doesn’t transfer if you just grabbed the audio and flip it over. Does that make sense?
[00:18:57] Brad: Yeah. 100%.
[00:18:58] Roger: Because you say like when I’m – and I interact with not just clients from the show, but I interact verbally with a lot of listeners. When they email me, I’ll send them little videos, I’ll get on the phone with them, and by far the one thing they say when they’re talking to you is, “Man, I feel like I know you.” I mean, they feel like they’re your friend because they’ve had you and usually it’s going to be in an earbud while they’re working out, while they’re driving and if you produce the content in an intimate way where you’re talking to someone, they’re like your friend. And so, by the time they get to talk to you, they already feel like you guys have had beers for years and I think that’s the difference. It doesn’t really happen from a radio broadcast if I were to listen to it in my earbuds.
[00:19:43] Brad: Yeah. So, if you were going to bridge that gap, I would love to hear your thoughts and maybe it’s not even possible, but I think there’s maybe a way to do it. I know Jason like you said, our friend, has done a version of this. Would you put like if you had an hour-long show and let’s say that’s for 12-minute segments, if you were going to turn that into a podcast or the best version of that podcast without completely reproducing all that work, would you take and put like a super intimate type of intro on the front-end of that or like, “Hey, this is a 12-minute segment from last week’s radio show but here’s why I wanted to share that with you,” and then like put like a front-end on it like I do on this show? What are some ideas you might have to do that, Roger?
[00:20:21] Roger: Yeah. I’ve never done radio, so I don’t know but, in my mind, this is what I think I would do is, well, there’s a hard part with radio because most of it you have to pay for it, so the dynamics are different. You sort of have to hunt and kill because you have a high overhead that you don’t have in podcasting so this might not work as a result of that but if you put that aside, I would produce the radio content where I’m talking more with someone rather than to someone because early on you get the radio voice, “Hey, this is Roger Whitney. Welcome to the show.” That’s talking to somebody and so what I probably would do absent the financial end of it is start producing the radio content in a more intimate way and that it will cross over but I don’t know how you do that from an economic standpoint.
[00:21:07] Brad: What are your secrets to doing that on the podcast? Have you found are great ways to do that?
[00:21:12] Roger: I hired voice coaches. I practice. I listened. I have other podcasters that listened to my show and beat me up all the time. This is a bad practice that I get beaten up on. I don’t listen to a lot of my shows which you really should, but I think it’s an iterative thing because if you think of the evolution of marketing, you start off, “I have this great process, this great whatever. I got to tell people about it,” and that’s how we all start when we’re trying to get our message out there which is natural. Everybody does it but when you evolve a little bit, you realize nobody really cares about our process or our message. What they care about is their life and the problems they’re facing so slowly you have to keep learning so where now you’re entering their conversation and you’re talking about the things they’re already thinking about and worried about and leading them to how they can resolve that internal issue that they’re dealing with.
And I don’t know how you do it. You just keep working. I mean, you have people. You start off yelling at people and then if you’re intentional, you iterate and change and evolve and hire voice coaches, have friends listen and say, “Dude, you’re yelling at me. Stop it. Do this.” And that’s how I did it and from that first Social Media Marketing World, I met two people. Lou Mongello was one and we started a small online study group where we would listen to each other’s shows and give feedback on what we’re hearing so I think that’s the best way.
[00:22:45] Brad: Yeah. Well, I listened to a couple of your shows just to prepare for this, the one recently that I listened to was being single in retirement which, number one, I thought was great content because nobody speaks to that and there’s a lot of single retirees out there.
[00:22:58] Roger: Yeah. I get beaten up for not speaking to that too much so that’s why I did it.
[00:23:02] Brad: Yeah. Well, you listened to your audience, right? That’s what it all comes down to. So, one thing that I took from that was there were a couple of things, so I never heard anybody do on radio that I thought was brilliant. The first thing that I took from you was your call to action. It was actually not, number one, it didn’t even sound like a call to action. I don’t even know that you meant it to be a call to action but your call to action was, “Hey, I would love for when you listeners out there that’s a single retiree that wouldn’t mind sharing your story and being a case study for the listeners to reach out to me through the website and I ‘d love to connect and do some planning together and share your message with everyone else out there.” And I heard that, and I was like, “Wow. That’s really good.” Because from a case study standpoint, a lot of which you apply to their story is going to apply to everybody else listening. So, you’re putting out there super valuable content for your audience but also that’s a call to action for the right people out there listening in to reach out and connect and now you start the planning process. So, is this a consistent thing that you’ve done or was this something new that you’re just trying out?
[00:24:02] Roger: That is actually, Brad, one of the most brilliant ideas in the podcast. It really is, and it wasn’t mine. It was a listener. So, we call it Retirement Plan Live and it was a listener who’s now a friend who reached out to me and said, “Hey, I’m getting ready to retire. It’d be cool if you did a blog case study, talk about my situation and so that people can relate to it.” And as we talk it’s like, “Well, why don’t we just do it on air?” So, what we did was I have a very defined process. It’s Agile Retirement Management based off of Agile Project Management and I branded it. So, what we did was we changed his name, we changed some of the information, and then we recorded a truncated version as if he was a client of, okay, what are we trying to accomplish here? What financial resources do you have to accomplish what you say your family cares about? What risk are we dealing with?
And we recorded that as if I was working with a client and then we released it in an episodic way of over four weeks. And we had an email, “Well, okay. We’re talking about his net worth today. Here’s his net worth. Here’s a worksheet for you to do your net worth,” and then people really resonated with a story and then what we did at the end is and this is our fifth one. We’re getting ready to do with a single person then we have a webinar where we go through the analysis online live and it was Carl at the first one and we go through it and then I show Carl whether it’s actually going to work or not, live online. And then if it doesn’t, we iterate to find and work a solution. So, that was his idea, not mine, but I ran with it and people love it because they resonate with hearing other people’s journey, right?
[00:25:47] Brad: Yeah. Okay. So, let’s get into like the blueprint of how you made that work. So, you mentioned it on the episode, well, I guess the first one you had a client kind of roleplay with you. So, as you go through this next one, the single retiree, you’re telling them reach out through the website. So, if I’m a financial advisor out there and you got this Contact Me section on your website which, number one, I highly recommend you guys should all go check out Roger’s because it’s incredibly well done. It’s super intuitive and not all cluttered like most financial advisor’s websites that I see. So, check out RogerWhitney.com. We’ll put it in the show notes. But can you walk through like here’s the process? So, five people or ten people or however many contact me through the website and then what does that look like? And then also, sorry I’m throwing a lot at you here.
[00:26:33] Roger: No. It’s okay.
[00:26:33] Brad: But also, what does your format look like to actually work with someone virtually because most of the listeners are used to somebody driving into the office, sitting across the table from them, so how did you have to switch your planning scenario and technology that you use to be able to make that happen?
[00:26:50] Roger: Yeah. So, like for the Retirement Plan Live, they’re not clients. So, right now the one that you heard, we got a lot of feedback, “Hey, you never talk about single people.” So, we reached out and we had maybe 20 people say, “I would be willing to do that,” and then I set up or I don’t set up – Nicole my sidekick sets up a one-on-one call with me. I’ve had two yesterday and two more today because we’re about to select the person to be the subject. And so, we have an online scheduling thing so we’re setting up those calls and then I have a conversation with them and that’s how we find out. But are you talking more from a client acquisition and how you work with clients?
[00:27:28] Brad: Yeah. So, let’s keep going down that path of the 13 million or so you brought in and the half of that that you brought in here today. How does that work virtually? How do you make that happen?
[00:27:37] Roger: So, I have horrible calls to action and I need to get better but when someone thinks they might want to work with me, I started doing flat fee planning first because I’m like in my mind, “Nobody’s going to give me money and want me to manage our assets. We’ve never actually met.” So, I started doing flat fee planning from the show which I’ve never done, and I started I think $800 and last year it was at $3,500 for basically three-hour to hour-and-a-half video calls with the process around it. And I was doing more than I wanted to do and so I just shut that down just because it’s time for money and that’s not – I want to walk life with people. I don’t want to just come in and speak in their life and leave.
So, I had to figure out with that but what we do now, the funnel is if someone decides, “Hey, I might want to work with Roger,” they go to my website and they set up a fit meeting and I explain it that way and I got that from Duncan MacPherson who’s a consultant in our industry. And when they set up a fit meeting, they have an online calendar invite which sends them the invite and we use Zoom which is what we’re on right now is a video platform. I’m on Zoom probably four times a day and then they have a questionnaire that they have to fill out maybe 10 questions and then we actually mail out physically a fit kit.
[00:28:54] Brad: And, Roger, real quick on that. I would assume that form is done virtually? You’re not like…
[00:28:58] Roger: Yeah. It’s all online. Yeah. You can go do it right now.
[00:29:00] Brad: What software do you use there? You know off the top of your head?
[00:29:03] Roger: It’s a WordPress plugin, the form. So, we use I think ScheduleOnce which is integrated with our website to do the online calendar which has changed my life from a scheduling standpoint, having an online calendar. And then we have a WordPress form plugin that generates the form. So, the sequence is when you click on let’s set up a meeting. It goes through the calendar. As soon as they schedule the meeting, it goes to the form which is a WordPress plugin because I have a WordPress site and then when they fill out the form, the data from the form gets emailed to me and then my assistant Nicole. And then we physically mail out a fit kit which is a folder with the collateral of here’s the team, here’s how we work with people, FAQs, things like that. And then we set up and then we get on a Zoom call like this and we have a fit meeting. And like Duncan talks about, they’re deciding. I have an agenda for the fit meeting and its setup that I’m evaluating whether they’re a fit as much as they’re evaluating whether I’m a fit. And then no decisions are made in that and then we schedule a follow-up meeting, a fit follow-up two to three days afterward and then we come back and decide whether it makes sense or not to go for it. So, that’s the funnel as it is today.
[00:30:19] Brad: And in that second and the follow-up to the fit, is that technically now your first appointment or you decide we are now going to have a first appointment where we start to get into the planning process and that would be a call following that?
[00:30:31] Roger: Yeah. That’s really when you get into, okay, how does this work and what’s the first step? So, it’s the follow-up. What I’ve been doing right now is if we both think we’re a fit then that starts the process and what I tell them is, “Now we’re going to start the process through putting together this roadmap,” which is the initial process what we hear on Retirement Plan Live. And then in the third meeting, in fact, I had to push back a little bit for you, my third meeting with a potential client, we’re doing all the planning. And then when we get to the third meeting we have a fork in the road. I call it paid dating. At this point, we can go one or two directions. We can, “Hey, Roger, this was super valuable, but we think we got this,” and then I come up with the action items, I get them deliverables on a quick start checklist, and they pay a flat fee of $3,500 and we part friends, they got value, I got value for my time. Or the other fork is, “Yeah, this makes sense and I really want to walk life with you,” and then we start figuring out, “Okay, how do we do that from a transfer of assets and everything else?” So, it goes from the fit meeting to paid dating to that fork in the road and then to help bridge that courting that you don’t get to do when you’re in the same town.
[00:31:46] Brad: And really at the end, they’re just making the decision. I want to do the do-it-yourself version which is Roger gave me the checklist of everything I need to do or the done for you version which is basically I have my assets over and Roger takes care of the rest from there.
[00:32:01] Roger: Exactly. And based on how that paid dating goes, I may encourage them one way or the other. It may be clear that, “Ooh, they’re going to be hard to work with. They just want to have their hands in it too much. They’re not really wanting to delegate.” So, it gives us both a chance and I go into it and there are many people that just want to do it themselves. I have the attitude. I am totally fine with that. I have an abundant mindset, to begin with, and I think that’s important as you do these types of things unless you’re just a salesperson but if they want to leave, I’ve got my value and I’ll find the people that really want to walk life with me and that’s cool so there’s no pressure there. It’s like we’re all just big adults trying to do the right thing and we’ll love on each other and it will work out regardless.
[00:32:48] Brad: What have been the biggest obstacles to me going from meeting with people face-to-face to doing it virtually with Zoom? Mistakes you’ve made as far as technology or just the process in general, I’d love to hear kind of what you’ve learned along the way.
[00:33:02] Roger: Giving them a little education on the front end. Zoom is the platform I use which is for me a lot more – has a much more solid foundation than a Skype or a GoToMeeting. There are less downloads. Every now and then, think of it the audience for me is podcast audience so they’re a little bit more technologically savvy than most so they’re more used to online meetings. But a lot of it, to be honest with you, Brad, has been my mindset that people won’t do this. People need to be with me. It was more me getting over some of my limiting beliefs in a lot of this stuff than it was the people I was interacting with.
[00:33:41] Brad: I mean, I think about it. Alan Moore, I’m guessing somewhere along the way you’ve crossed paths with him. He was on an episode, one of the early episodes and he said something I thought just was spot on. He’s like, “Honestly, once people realize they could meet with me virtually, that’s what they wanted to do. It’s more convenient. They didn’t want to drive across town and have to fight traffic along the way. They just prefer to hop on in their pajamas from their kitchen table with a cup of coffee.” Have you found that to be true as well?
[00:34:11] Roger: Oh yeah. People love it. I’m in downtown Fort Worth so one of my limiting beliefs right now is giving up my office. I feel like I can’t because I feel like people expect me to have an office but in reality, I meet with I’d say 90% of my meetings are online like this. The majority are that other 10%, 1% actually come to the office, and the rest I’m driving to them. I don’t meet people in my office ever and so this is my home office right here and the nice thing about this is we’re on, we can talk, I can share my screen, I can go on the Internet, pull something up and share it to you and we can interact together with it and I don’t have to prepare a lot of payment. Remember, meeting prep when someone goes to see a client, you build a stack of deck, all this paper, you want to go through it, nobody really wants to go through it or even if you’re technology savvy and you bring the client to the office, you try to get your computer to work on the big screen TV and then you got glare or it’s not connecting right, none of that happens. I mean, everything I do is agile, and it’s worked really well. I mean it’s revolutionized my business. So, think about it from a business standpoint. I hope I’m not rambling here, Brad.
[00:35:23] Brad: No. You’re good. That’s what this is for, buddy. That’s why I asked the question.
[00:35:27] Roger: The traditional model and I grew up in this, right, Yeah. I started in 1990 is where you have connections and where your market is, is a certain radius around your office. You’re either calling them or you’re Edward Jones style, knocking on the doors, you’re going to the Chamber of Commerce and you’re networking and everything else. That means you’re driving. That means you’re spending time in the evening. You’re doing all of this stuff that takes a lot of time that is downtime. It’s just logistical time. Well, now with my show like I mentioned at the beginning, people are listening all over the country, all over the world, and building a relationship with you before you even know who they are.
So, by the time they get to my end of the funnel and they decide, “Yeah, I need an advisor and Roger’s given me an avenue to work with me, it’s like we’ve had a relationship for years especially if you produce content that really resonates with them and I have some thoughts on that that we can dive into if you want.” And it’s really weird for me because I’m just meeting them, but they feel like they’ve known you forever. Like you know Michael Hyatt who is awesome. I’m guessing when you met him, you felt like you knew who he was. When he first met you, “Who’s this Brad guy?” But for you, it’s, “Hey, this is Michael Hyatt. I know all about your dog and your family and everything else,” and, yeah, it’s a little bit celebrity-ish sometimes but you get that.
[00:36:51] Brad: What’s interesting is the internet and what you could do digitally with podcasting now is and that’s what’s insane to me is like you’re sitting there in your home just kind of stream of consciousness and obviously you put some work into the content that you’re going to provide but you don’t realize like somebody’s literally waiting for that new episode to hit so they can tune in and that’s the beauty of taking the constraints off of thinking geographically is you’re now resonating with whoever like you said is in your tribe from all over the country.
[00:37:24] Roger: Yeah. So, what really happened is this is crazy to me is and I love it because I get feedback, good and bad, but the good is I like listen to Michael Hyatt’s podcast. I see his name on our screen so I’m thinking of them for years. I don’t listen to them anymore. Not because he’s not awesome but at the time of my life he spoke to me and I got consumed because he was speaking to where I was at in my life so what ends up happening when people find the show either that guy is an idiot, they leave, I don’t even know who they are or he’s speaking to me and what will happen is, so I’ve done 213 episodes so that’s about four years, a little four years, I’ve never missed a week which is really important, people will go back and listen to every single episode. So, I don’t know millions of words, hours, days of content which is incredible. So, that’s what happens in this podcast world. No doubt, if you consume podcast whoever is listening, you probably felt that as well.
[00:38:25] Brad: Yeah. We could go on all kinds of tandems. I’m still blown away by the feedback you get from people and like I haven’t missed an episode and you’re like, “Well, I don’t even think that highly of myself and they’re sitting here like listen to every episode.”
[00:38:38] Roger: Yeah. It’s crazy.
[00:38:40] Brad: Okay. So, I want to kind of put a wrapper on this conversation but there were a couple of things just with I know there’s going to be technical questions coming in from advisors like how you do this. So, when you’re running an appointment, you’re using Zoom and then are there any other pieces of technology when you share your screen or like whiteboard that you’re scribbling on to just make it an intuitive experience for the potential client?
[00:39:03] Roger: No. It’s just Zoom and then I’m in my planning software or I’m in the reports and I’ll pop back and forth from the screen share to me. Mostly it’s me and then when we’re looking at something. And then the way I do planning is collaborative so it’s not me getting all the information and coming back with some big analysis. It’s me wanting with the client and thus figuring it out together. So, that’s the beauty of it because MoneyGuidePro is the platform I use is we are testing scenarios together right there. So, I’m not the sage way up here. I’m the sage in the planning end of it but they’re the sage of their life and collaborative, we can say, “What if we did this? What if we did sell that house and we decide to do this instead?” I’m like, “Okay. Well, let’s model it.” And then together we model it and see the results and figure out how to make adjustments and build action items from there. So, yeah, you don’t need anything other than Zoom and good bandwidth and the right lighting which I don’t quite have right now and things like that.
[00:40:10] Brad: I won’t hold it against you, man. That is one thing, do not underestimate if you do a video podcast, the power of the ring light is very important.
[00:40:18] Roger: Yeah. My lighting is not good right now. And what you have in the background. You don’t want your drapes in the background.
[00:40:24] Brad: Right. Okay. So, here’s what I heard you say there. You’re really co-creating the plan with the client. It reminded me, we had Donald Miller, StoryBrand Donald Miller who’s from Nashville. I’m sure you’ve crossed paths or Franklin or somewhere down there but one thing that he said that has always resonated with me is he looks at his brand and the brands that get it right, you’re not the hero of the story. So, Star Wars here, you’re not Luke Skywalker. You’re Yoda. You’re the mentor that’s kind of guiding them down the path which sounds very familiar. It’s similar to what you’re really doing is you’re kind of Yoda like, “Hey, let’s create this plan together and I’ve got this wisdom of doing it many, many times before.”
[00:41:01] Roger: Yeah. And I’m a big Donald Miller fan so, yeah, I eat his stuff up and if anybody hasn’t read his book and they’re thinking about getting kind of brand, new storybrand, and all that, consume that stuff which is very, yeah, so I am the empowering agent of the hero and the client is the hero. And from a podcast perspective when you’re producing content whether you’re blogging, podcasting, whatever you’re doing, that’s the voice you should have. Speaking to what their fears are, their desires are and helping them resolve those conflicts as he would talk about.
[00:41:33] Brad: Sure. Awesome. Okay. So, let’s wrap up the kind of technical part of this and then I want to get into like the podcast content stuff because I know there’s so much you can offer there. So, let’s say I’m the prospective client and we’re at the end of the second or third meeting and I say, “Roger, you’re awesome. I want to work with you.” What does that look like? Is it a DocuSign doc? Is it a fee agreement that I’m signing up for? What’s the technical of how I get started with the relationship?
[00:41:59] Roger: Yeah. So, the technical end of it is from an account paperwork standpoint it’s almost everything is DocuSign for the most part. In the forms that are DocuSign you can do secure email and things like that and so I handed off to Nicole and that is an important part from a leverage standpoint with any business is when that happens, I’ve worked on building process to where I can literally go into a meeting without a lot of prep and everything is there for me. So, if you think the model of a doctor, when you’re sitting in a room waiting for an hour and he walks in, he’s figuring out a lot of things as soon as he opens a file. It’s not like he’s thought about you at all beforehand. Not about that spur of the moment but so what ends up happening is, yeah, with all the paper documents, that’s handled via eSig and I passed the client off to another teammate who handles or shepherds all of that happening with the follow-up and everything else. Yeah.
[00:42:59] Brad: And is Nicole, I mean, is she literally popping on here on the Zoom as another person? I mean, it’s like handed off to her or how does that work?
[00:43:06] Roger: Yeah. So, Nicole will set up – she’s on the show periodically and so what will happen is Nicole will set up her own meeting with the client and then walk through rather than have the client fill out a form with all the information you need, you know all the stuff, you have an account form. She’ll walk through either via Zoom or phone asking all the question in an interview style. So, we have it all nice and tight and easy for the client and then she’ll give it to Brandy who actually produces all the forms and gets them off. So, the client knows who Nicole is. Brandy is more the operations end of it, so they don’t interact with her as much, but we try to make it as easy as possible from a client standpoint.
[00:43:46] Brad: Awesome. And so, then on the backend, it just sounds like DocuSign whether A-CADing everything over to your RIA and then you get to work on building a plan that you kind of co-created together?
[00:43:56] Roger: Right. And we have an in-progress on-boarding in terms of we have a video where it’s Nicole walking through a screen share of how you access online, how to navigate our custodian’s LPL, how you navigate to find stuff and things like that, so we send them a video that online shows them how to do certain things.
[00:44:17] Brad: Great. Thank you for sharing that. I know we’re nerding out a little bit but there are people that want to know. Okay. So, Roger, selfishly this is the part I would love to just unpack and get into. So, you mentioned a little bit earlier what you’ve learned along the way is kind of producing content and being that kind of guide along the way. So, I don’t know if you have a special format like here’s the formula like follow on every show but anything down those lines would be super helpful because I know there’s a lot of people that advisors that want to have a podcast and there’s a lot of advisors that I think this will apply just as much to the radio show as well.
[00:44:51] Roger: Yeah. So, probably the biggest lessons I think on things that I’ve had made it easier and I’ve been told really improve the show is when obviously speaking in a more intimate way. I think if you’re going to go this route, hire a voice coach. I have a great one. It was $1,000 per month and it was the most painful thing I ever went through because you had exercises in terms of your ticks and I’m probably not doing it here. Using all the elements of storytelling because it ends up becoming a lot more storytelling pauses, low voices, high voices and all that. So, hone your craft there. Talking with the person and all that Don Miller stuff of understanding at what they really care about. Obviously, knowing who your audience is.
So, I just had dinner with a guy named David Stein who’s the host of Money for the Rest of Us. Great podcast. Four times bigger than mine. He’s not an advisor now. He’s pretty nerdy. People love his nerdiness. Michael Kitces. The people that consume Michael Kitces probably don’t consume me because I get feedback, “You’re too touchy-feely. You need to go deeper on that. Where’s all the technical babble gabble?” So, the framework from my show is wisdom, not knowledge. Like with my book, I bought all the retirement books, work elements, and all the other ones. I’m like, “Wow. There’s so much stuff in here and it’s so boring but it’s good technical tactical stuff. We need a wisdom book.” So, if you’re reading my book, it’s not very tactical. It’s very wisdom-based.
[00:46:22] Brad: We’ll throw it up on the camera here for everyone. Rock Retirement. Go and get a copy.
[00:46:28] Roger: So, from a production of content, I really know my audience, who I’m speaking to, and just as important, I know who I’m not speaking to. So, I only care about the person I’m speaking to because there’s someone else talking to the people that don’t resonate with me. So, not trying to be everything to everybody. The other thing that I learned that has really been helpful was I have segments. So, my show starts off with me doing something quirky, story, personal, and then I have my disclaimer which people actually love. Everybody has a fear for disclaimer. I actually just sort of make fun of it and use it. Actually, sometimes I have the call to action to be a client in my disclaimer and then I have a hot topic segment where it’s more topical, me talking, and then I have either me teaching on a particular topic like right now we’re covering healthcare before Medicare which is a huge issue or me interviewing somebody or me mostly answering questions where I have Nicole on the show asking the questions and playing the role of, the voice of the person asking the question.
And then I have The Happy Lab which is just noodling on how to live a happier life and then I have a S.M.A.R.T. Sprint which is what seven-day action you can take based on what we talked about and then I have segue music between each one of those. And that’s really helped in the energy of the show. One from a production standpoint, I am producing little snippets now. I’m not, “Okay. What am I going to say for 30 minutes?” So, it gives me a lot more room to outline and feel snappy. Second, it gives the audience a natural rhythm that they’re going through and they’re listening to show so it’s not just me. Most of my shows are monologue so it’s not just me talking for 30 minutes and it creates this energy that sort of bounces. So, if I’m talking about something and it’s not resonating, the listener knows if there’s going to be something else coming up here in a few minutes so that will help them stay with the show rather than just log out. So, those are my tactical things that I do in trying to produce the show.
[00:48:37] Brad: And as you’ve incorporated the call to action a little bit more frequently and the beauty of it is it doesn’t sound like a call to action. As you’ve incorporated that more over the last couple of years, what’s the formula that you’ve really figured out? This seems like it resonates, and you get people to connect with you?
[00:48:54] Roger: I haven’t.
[00:48:56] Brad: Still working on it?
[00:48:57] Roger: I’m horrible at it. So, right now the call to action is I don’t do it every episode. Right now it’s either, “Hey, go get the book,” so the book comes out March 20 or came out March 20 depending on when this aired and I’ve been and right now call to action is either, “Buy the book and if you buy it on Amazon and leave a review I’ll send you the free book, shipping included.” Or it’s, “Hey, if you’re looking for someone to walk this journey with you, that is a specialist in exactly what you’re dealing with, Roger Whitney is accepting clients. Here’s where you go to set up a fit meeting.” That’s it. And usually, it’s at the end.
[00:49:31] Brad: Which by the way I actually printed this because I thought your call to action at least on the website is you are very clear. I don’t even know if this comes through very well but basically, you’ve got a red box and a blue box.
[00:49:43] Roger: Which I can share it if you want, screen share.
[00:49:45] Brad: Yeah. I mean we’re on Zoom. We might as well, right?
[00:49:48] Roger: Hey, let’s use the technology.
[00:49:50] Brad: This will be a first where a guest pops up a Zoom screen. But, yeah, you’re side-by-side. I like it and the other thing, so it’s very clear. So, for those joining on video, you can see side-by-side so this is the work with a section on Roger’s podcast or website page I should say. But then even down below I love the Who’s A Typical Client? Right. So, you clearly laid out 50 Plus Focus on Building A Great Life and With Assets Over 750,000.
[00:50:20] Roger: And then if they click on Schedule a Chat with Roger, it goes to the schedule and then from there it goes to the form.
[00:50:26] Brad: Beautiful. And that would you say ScheduleOnce was your plugin there on the backend?
[00:50:31] Roger: Yeah. Actually, I use TimeTrade and ScheduleOnce depending on what platform I’m on but yeah. It’s like a couple of $100 a year.
[00:50:38] Brad: Very cool. All right. Let’s keep rolling here because the other thing that’s different with podcasting versus radio is radio it’s so expensive because you’re buying a pre-built audience. Podcasting you have no audience. It’s you talking to yourself for a while until you start to get the word out there and grow the audience. Which is also beautiful for a guy like you because it’s a bigger, as Warren Buffett would say, you have a moat around your castle a little bit because it took the work and it took the reps to get where you are today.
[00:51:08] Roger: Exactly.
[00:51:09] Brad: Are there tactics you’ve figured out over time that have helped you bump up downloads? Like how do you let people know my show is out there and start to grow that audience?
[00:51:18] Roger: Yeah. The number one tactic by far is have an awesome show, create great content, and that sounds trite but it’s true but more to what you’re talking about, the number one tactic early on was to be interviewed on the other people shows. That was by far. So, when I surveyed my audience, they either find me by far it’s either iTunes, finding me via iTunes or they heard me on somebody else’s show. Those were by far the two biggest drivers of audience. And consistency. Because what happens is especially now even four years ago was big but there’s, I mean, you get a lot of people coming on the podcast, a lot of people. The last data I saw was 80% or 90% don’t get past episode 7 so the consistency of you come out every Wednesday, you may not realize it, people expect you to come out every Wednesday and if you don’t, they’ll find another show that resonates with them. So, the consistency is huge but iTunes, search, and being interviewed on other shows are huge.
[00:52:23] Brad: Which is to hit on that just still, I mean, I’m with you. I feel like I started this two years ago or a little over two years ago and there’s been an explosion of podcast. You just see new ones popping up. Still though, like imagine if it was the early days of Google and you just had a website. I mean, that’s where iTunes is right now because you search retirement and there’s like five shows that pop-up total that are financial advisors and so imagine if there are only five financial advisors when you google them, and the opportunity is still out there.
[00:52:55] Roger: Yeah. And a lot of it too is people think you need to have a huge audience and you really don’t. I mean there’s a lot of download envy of how big is your show and we forget that what do we need to have a great advisor practice? 100 clients of your perfect clients.
[00:53:15] Brad: Yeah. I’ve seen it in my show like you said, Roger, you’ve already started seeing, you have this niche and maybe you’re not nerdy enough for a certain audience but imagine how much you’re not going to enjoy working with that person anyway that wants to open up the spreadsheet 15 times a meeting. So, you’re naturally attracting the people that you resonate with anyway so it’s just beautiful how that works.
[00:53:36] Roger: So, we think of we want to take our best clients and replicate them. It makes sense. So, your show should be talking directly to who your best client or ideal client is. So, using a podcast if you’re consistent, you’re talking to your ideal client, you’re talking about what they care about and not talking to them, you will attract your ideal client. The one caveat I would say is your audience is probably going to be a good percentage that don’t use advisors, or my traditional clients don’t listen to financial shows because they’re delegators and they have me. So, that’s one caveat that you got to realize.
[00:54:14] Brad: To say that, Roger, make sure I’m hearing you, you’re going to attract a little bit more of a do-it-yourself audience through the podcasting world?
[00:54:20] Roger: Totally. Which is great for a flat fee because even the do-it-yourself or just especially in life transition, want somebody to check their math and look for blind spots. So, if you like doing flat fee planning, it’s a really great way to do it because you can serve that audience if your revenue model works for you and you’re comfortable with the time commitment. Can I show you an example of the audience?
[00:54:44] Brad: For sure.
[00:54:44] Roger: So, I just did an audience survey which you got to do. So, my audience is roughly 5,000 downloads an episode. So, and I just did a listener survey and I got almost 300 responses which is crazy.
[00:54:59] Brad: How did you do that? You basically talked about it on an episode and said, “Go here to do it?”
[00:55:05] Roger: Great question. If you have a podcast, your number one goal is probably to capture their email because the email is the currency. Great point because this is actually critical. You want to capture their email which means you have to have something that they want to get from you. I have tons of worksheets that I give out and the only way you get them is going to my website. I capture email and that gives me the opportunity to love on them in some way off of the podcast.
So, what I did was, and I was afraid to do this early on is I started I call it Six Shot Saturday Email which is six quick tips to create a great life in retirement. Some of it is the summary of the show, some of it is me loving on them in some way. And I was afraid to do it every single Saturday morning. That seems like too much to me. The open rates are 40% plus and the replies and interactions you get as a result of that are priceless. So, so you want to have an opt-in and you want to have some way to love on them in some consistent way in non-podcast form. And don’t be afraid of once a week. I totally stole it from Tim Ferriss who does Five Bullet Friday. I’m a Texan. We got six shots. We’ll do it on Saturday but that is critical actually so that’s a very good point. So, if you want, I’ll show you the audience.
[00:56:23] Brad: Yeah. For sure. Hop it up.
[00:56:24] Roger: So, take this in the context of I only speak to people over 50 that are transitioning towards retirement or thinking about it. So, we have 66% are male. Look at the age distribution. You got 53% are 51 to 60 and then you got 21% 60 to 70, exactly who I want to talk to. Now, if you look at who listens to the podcast, people over 50 are the smallest percentage. So, I’m not talking to the sweet spot of podcasting at all from an audience standpoint. Are you currently retired? 65-ish percent of them are in the planning stages let’s say within 10 years which is exactly who I want to talk to. Net worth? What is that? You got 47% over 1 million. We got about seven of them that are over 4,000,000. You’re talking to high net worth people.
[00:57:15] Brad: Yeah. That’s something I’ve found in podcast. Educated people, typically above average educated and above average of fluency are listening to podcasts which is obviously who you want to be talking to.
[00:57:26] Roger: Right. So, you ask me how I produce content. It’s by this. So, what are your biggest struggles? We went through that. What most excites you? We go through that. We go through do you plan on working? Look, half the people plan on working in retirement. So, I need to have content that talks about how do you work and still have life freedom? And they tell me why. 61% don’t use a financial advisor. So, this is who I’m really speaking to, but I have to figure out how do I create content or maybe product that can speak to this audience. Flat fee planning could be one of those. I don’t want to do that, but I got to figure out something. What do they want to hear on the show?
[00:58:03] Brad: You need a subscription service for those…
[00:58:07] Roger: Yeah. This stuff is priceless, and I have probably 400 responses in their own words telling me what they’re worried about, what they want, and this is where all my content will come and my products or whatever I do over the next 12 to 24 months. So, the lesson I want to point out though that if you really dial into who you’re speaking to, you’re going to, over time, find your exact audience and you’ll only be speaking to people that are like your ideal clients which is pretty…
[00:58:34] Brad: Thank you for sharing that. That’s very generous of you. That’s awesome stuff. So, as we wrap up here, Roger, there’s another question I want to ask you and then we’ll throw you some philosophical questions, but I hopped out and as of this morning you have 5-star rated podcast. I’m on iTunes, 156 reviews. That’s something I’d seen as a big struggle for a lot of podcasts as actually getting their shared reviews. So, I want to read one here but then I want to follow that up with a question because I thought this was awesome. This was like one of your more recent ones, more recent reviews. “Finally, a financial professional that gets me. 5 stars. Roger is not only an expert in his field, but he understands the bigger picture of life. Listening to his show is like having a virtual coach or mentor who communicates in a language I can understand. The show is my true north when it comes to planning for the life I want to live.” You need to frame that and put that up somewhere. I mean you couldn’t write a better one of those.
[00:59:31] Roger: Wow. Holy cow.
[00:59:33] Brad: So, here’s my question. Number one, that once again shows the power of podcasting and attracting your ideal audience and by the way, that individual left his first and last name so that’s probably a client down the road but how did you drive reviews? Is there any framework? Did it just happen organically over four years or did you strategically do it? Because I see a lot of shows that have been around for a long time literally sitting out there with no reviews, so you got to check them out. Like, obviously this show is no good, nobody’s reviewed it. So, what’s your secret there?
[01:00:02] Roger: I don’t ask really. I mean I do periodically, but I don’t like you rarely hear me ask for a review on the show. Rarely. Maybe one every 10 episodes if I remember.
[01:00:14] Brad: So, it just organically happens over time?
[01:00:17] Roger: Yeah. I guess so. Yeah.
[01:00:19] Brad: It speaks to putting out good content then because if you weren’t, you wouldn’t have 156 reviews.
[01:00:24] Roger: Yeah. It’s pretty cool. I mean, I would do the show if it wasn’t for advisory business. I mean, this is what I’m supposed to be doing which is a lot of the work I did in the front end.
[01:00:37] Brad: It’s funny. Steve Sanduski was on and this was a few episodes back and we have this exact same conversation. I think it’s really become something I’ll tell you what I love, and I don’t know how often you have guests on your show, but I just find once again it attracts people like yourself into my life where like Jason Parker out in Washington he’s like, “You got to meet Roger Whitney. He’d be awesome on your show. Really good dude. I met him at this conference.” And it is crazy how many times that has happened and so it’s a medium for me to have great conversations with people I respect and want to learn more from and, hey, if other people can listen in as a third party and benefit from it too, even better and especially if it ends up attracting potential clients my way as well. So, I don’t know if you’ve kind of have the same organic feeling with the…
[01:01:24] Roger: Yeah. From a personal level, it’s totally changed my life from the people that send you emails will bring tears to your eyes and the people that I’ve met, Dan Miller who I remember his mastermind who’s friends with Michael Hyatt and I run in that world and I have friends all over the country that are just so rich. It’s truly changed my life and all for the better. So, it’s a great journey if that’s what you’re looking for too and you get to serve a lot and then from a financial perspective, you can do well too.
[01:01:58] Brad: It’s definitely a growth mindset audience.
[01:02:00] Roger: Totally.
[01:02:01] Brad: And so, it attracts a lot of those type of people in your life. All right. Good for a question or two as we wrap up here?
[01:02:07] Roger: Sure. I think I’ve rambled on enough.
[01:02:09] Brad: No. It’s been awesome. I really appreciate it. There’s so much gold there especially that last section of just kind of sharing behind the scenes the type of people that are listening in. For those of you listening to the audio, go check out the YouTube version because Roger shared a ton of stats there that you’re going to find super interesting. Let’s go with this one. This is one of my favorites and I always speaks to a little bit more about you behind-the-scenes. When you hear the word successful, who’s the first person you think of and why, Roger?
[01:02:39] Roger: Dan Miller is, and I didn’t really know him before I started to interact with him in his group. He is 70 years old. He and his wife Joanne are the most alive, most curious, most connected on a deep level with others, people I know. He’s my rabbit. If I can be like Dan Miller when I’m 70 and be that engaged, that energetic, and that curious and have a relationship with my wife like he does and have – so and part of it as you get older what ends up happening as you get older, typically your social circles decline. People move away and they die off and people get more lonely as they get older. Dan Miller is totally fighting that trend. He’s totally going the other direction. So, it could be Dan Miller.
[01:03:22] Brad: His book, is it 48?
[01:03:24] Roger: 48 Days to the Work You Love.
[01:03:26] Brad: Okay. Actually, I haven’t read any of his books which is sad because I’ve heard Michael Hyatt is a huge fan of Dan Miller.
[01:03:33] Roger: Before I met him, I had never read any of his books or interacted with them at all.
[01:03:37] Brad: So, how did that mastermind come to be?
[01:03:39] Roger: Through a friend.
[01:03:41] Brad: Is that Franklin? Is that where he’s based off?
[01:03:44] Roger: I go to Franklin maybe three or four times a year.
[01:03:46] Brad: That’s such a cool little city.
[01:03:48] Roger: Oh, I’d totally move there. I would totally move there.
[01:03:51] Brad: I’m surprised you haven’t. Jeff Rose, another mutual friend of ours, it’s either Austin or Nashville I feel like the two areas that suck people in that are in this world.
[01:04:02] Roger: Oh yeah. It’s just this little hotbed of awesome people.
[01:04:06] Brad: Yeah. Okay. Let’s go with this one. What is something that you would like to see considered absurd 25 years from now?
[01:04:14] Roger: Retirement.
[01:04:15] Brad: Expand on that one, please. Love to hear.
[01:04:17] Roger: Well, or the current retirement planning process and that’s what the book is about. As a financial advisor, retirement work for our parents who were more worn out when they got to their late years in life and they really want to sit on the park bench of life and everybody talks about retirement, even baby boomers, and they sacrificed so much of their life trying to save up this huge nest egg. They retire, and they realize, “This is it?” and a lot of them go back to work. And as a financial advisor community, we basically and the model is to boil someone’s life down to a math problem, a present value calculator, and give them options of save more, take more risk, live on less or settle for less later on. Those are basically the options that most financial advisors give people when it’s only a saving and investing model.
And from the responses, I could show you this chart, people don’t want to not work in my experience and my audience tells me this. What they want is more time freedom to pursue things on their own terms. They’re sick of the grind and so what ends up happening and the current model of retirement is people go down the path looking for advice and everything they’re given is very one-dimensional and focused on saving and investing when really, they don’t want to turn the light switch off in their life as far as work is concerned. They just want to dial it down like a dimmer switch and have more time freedom. And our industry doesn’t get that and it’s costing people their lives. So, I want retirement as we think of it to be gone.
[01:05:51] Brad: Yeah. It’s interesting. You see like and you mentioned it towards the front end of your book you say, “Gone are the days of go to the factory for 40 years and then here’s the pension that we’re going to provide for you because we just basically crushed you for 40 years of your life as you worked in the factory,” and it really is evolving to this one of our clients he had a saying, “Retire a little bit every year,” and more like working in like, hey, these are the trips I want to take along the way with my kids or with my grandkids where you’re just like you said dimming, turning the dimmer down. I love that analogy because that’s really – people just want more hours in the week to do fun things along the way and not just like I sit in that rock around the front porch now that I’m retired and just like watch cars drive by. I don’t think anybody aspires to live in that retirement.
[01:06:40] Roger: And to put a really fine point on it at least for me is my mom lived that model more in the corporate world which can grind you up as much as a factory and she sacrificed a lot of her life focused on that and missed a lot of her children and always talk about, “I’ll be happy then.” And the book is dedicated to her. I talked a little bit about her story in the book. She passed away at 48. Never got to that other end and I look back and say she missed most of her life which is really weird, and I had no, I didn’t even realize this until last week when my aunt told me because the publisher picked the release date which is the 28th of March. I wanted it to come out on fall and I tell her when the book is being released and she goes, “Roger, do you realize that’s your mom’s birthday?”
[01:07:27] Brad: Geez.
[01:07:28] Roger: That’s like a God link. I had no clue. I’m like, “Holy cow.” But people don’t need to miss their life when if they realize it early, they can intentionally create a life. They really don’t want to retire from and just gain more freedom so you’re right.
[01:07:43] Brad: Awesome. All right. Last question. Actually, I stole this from Ron Carson. He used to… So, living in the LPL world I know that’s definitely the name you’ve heard. What is one piece of advice you can share with the audience that’s led to your success to this point, Roger, up to this point?
[01:08:00] Roger: I’m a big failure and I just keep iterating. I’m a doer and I just keep adjusting along the way. If you’re intentional about adjusting, it’s okay to launch quickly and figure out as you go as long as you’re intentional about it. Just keep failing really quickly and keep working at it.
[01:08:17] Brad: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting and I’m guessing I’m not the only podcaster to feel this way like you go back and listen to those early episodes and you’re like, “What was I doing?” Can I literally say the word so that many times?
[01:08:33] Roger: I still do that. Yeah. You’re right.
[01:08:35] Brad: But if you wait until perfect, you’re never even going to get the show out in the first place.
[01:08:38] Roger: Probably in the podcasting, do it because nobody’s listening to it anyway.
[01:08:43] Brad: Fail well. Nobody’s watching, right?
[01:08:44] Roger: Exactly.
[01:08:45] Brad: Or listening in that case. Yeah. That’s such good advice. Actually, I think Michael Hyatt will appreciate this. He’s just running in some of the same circles. He said, “You should look at a lot of things in business like how they release software.” Apple releases a software before it’s actually ready because the beta version you’re going to have the people that use it on the front-end and work the kinks out and so I really try to look at that and a lot of things I do from a business perspective.
[01:09:10] Roger: Yeah. And that’s the basis of I frame advisors create retirement plans using waterfall methodology of software development which is build these big bloated things and my Agile Retirement Management process is all based on Agile Project Management which is what you’re talking about where you just have these updates. You just keep iterating quickly rather than spending all this time trying to figure it out. So, I totally agree with that.
[01:09:36] Brad: Awesome. Well, Roger, thank you so much. This has been a pleasure. I’ve learned a lot. I mean, this is going to make my podcast better so thank you selfishly for sharing your wisdom and I know there’s a lot of advisors out there that are going to benefit. You’re probably going to encourage a few of them to make the jump and start their own podcast too.
[01:09:53] Roger: Do it. It’s awesome.
[01:09:55] Brad: Well thank you so much. Until next time.
[01:09:57] Roger: All right. Be well, friends.
[01:10:02] Brad: Thanks for checking out the latest show. I really appreciate the reviews as it helps me figure out which guests resonate with you all and helps the show get discovered so thank you. Here are four more recent reviews. The first one comes to us from user DunahooA who says, “Staying Power. There are plenty of podcast out there to listen to. Quite frankly, you could listen to a new one each day for the rest of your life and still have room. Therefore, a podcast in my opinion has to have staying power. The ability to keep your attention and leaving you wanting to come back for more. This podcast has it.” Well, thank you. With all of the amazing podcasts out there, this means a lot. I do my very best to curate and connect with guests I think are going to deliver for you all and to keep the show relevant and jampacked with ideas and concepts that are going to help you all grow your practice to the next level. So, thanks for the incredibly kind words and for listening in.
The next review comes to us from user cjharrison15 who says, “Fantastic! Extremely insightful information is always discussed as Brad dives into the stories of some of the industry’s best and brightest. This is a podcast always introducing new ideas that can be applied to both the RIA and BD world. Thanks for making this happen. Keep it up.” Thank you, cjharrison15. In my last decade of consulting, I found one thing in common with the most successful advisors in the industry whether that’s RIAs or registered reps. They are lifelong learners and constantly challenge themselves to grow. Glad this is one of the places you come to grab new ideas for your practice. Thanks for listening.
Next up is Cyborgwolf-x07. I think I’m getting that right. I have to say when I saw that username it reminded me of that old school 80s sitcom Airwolf so nice creativity on the username. Anyway, they say, “Wealth of Knowledge! After recently leaving my employment from one of the big insurance companies and deciding to go solo, I have to say that these podcasts have been of tremendous value for me. The level of insight and amount of takeaways from each podcast is nothing short of a treasure chest of knowledge for advisors in the process of building their businesses. By simply starting my practice with the insights I’ve gathered from these podcasts, I know I’ve saved myself from many working mistakes. I feel very fortunate to have stumbled into this podcast.”
[01:12:12] Brad: Well thank you. It’s interesting because we work with just about every top insurance company out there on the life annuity side so potentially maybe our paths have crossed somewhere over the years. Congrats on the jump to the advising side of the world and independence. Reach out if there’s anything my team or I can do to help. Thanks for tuning in.
And the last featured review of the week comes to us from Emend1234 who says, “Pretty Good! Well worth the listen. I only began listening because of Dr. Crosby and his book but I found myself six episodes in and ready for more. In a world where you think Michael Kitces just about has the monopoly, Brad does a great job of having great guests and asking good questions. Can learn a lot from each conversation! Well worth the listen. I can’t see any reason to give it less than 5 stars.” Well, I appreciate it. I appreciate five stars more than four stars so thank you so much. Thanks for the review and I’m glad Dr. Crosby which is your gateway drug if you’re checking out six more episodes of the show. Michael Kitces is obviously an incredible name to be compared with. So, we’ll keep trying to deliver with great guests and great questions.
As we wrap this show, I just have to say that I love reading each and every review so thanks to those of you that have taken the time to send the love via the internet. For those of you that have interest in diving even 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 ideally design a practice that serves them versus being a slave to it. So yes, it is possible to grow your business and work less. This is a model we’ve replicated over and over and markets all over the country.
So, if you’d like to apply to see if it makes sense for us to have a one-on-one conversation, you can do that at BradleyJohnson.com/Apply. It takes about five 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 might be able to help. We then dive into the discovery session where we ask a lot of questions based on your survey, do a lot of listening, take a lot of notes, and see where we can go from there. So, taking the first step is as simple as applying at BradleyJohnson.com/Apply and that’s it. That’s all for this week so thanks for listening and I will catch you on the next show. Take care.
[01:14:25] 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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