Advisorist Podcast – Episode 18: Inside Digital Marketing, and What Makes People Do What They Do


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For a change of pace, Michael puts Jeremiah Desmarais in the hot seat to talk about digital marketing. Jeremiah doesn’t disappoint and gives away tips you can start using immediately.

In this episode, Jeremiah takes you inside the world of Advisorist and helps jumpstart your digital marketing efforts:

  • The single, most accountable way to grow your business.
  • EASY SOLUTION to keep your digital marketing and social selling efforts within regulatory compliance.
  • This one thing is maybe the most effective (and easy) way to post on LinkedIn.
  • How to make a POWERFUL, PERSONAL and PROFESSIONAL first impression with your new social connections and followers.
  • Are you giving your social connections a good enough reason to initiate a relationship with you?
  • Referrals vs. digital marketing; where should you put your effort.
  • The inside scoop on how to move a prospect from CONNECTION to RELATIONSHIP to CLIENT.
  • Your most consistently producing strategy for growing business.

Jeremiah Desmarais is an acclaimed digital marketer. He is the CEO of Advisorist, author of Shift: Digital Marketing Secrets of Insurance Agents and Financial Advisor, and a popular TED Talk speaker.

When it comes to marketing, Jeremiah practices what he teaches. He builds his own business using the same tools and strategies he shares with others. So you know that the strategies and techniques presented are up-to-date and well-proven.

Jeremiah, like so many of our podcast interviewees, talks about consistent persistence. Now you’ll discover how it pays off in your business.

Michael Levin is a versatile and talented columnist, author, distance runner, and musical performer who has ghostwritten more than 700 books ranging from finance and entrepreneurship to health care and technology.


Note:  This Advisorist Podcast transcript was created in part by computers – Please forgive any grammatical or spelling errors…or sentences that just downright don’t seem to make sense!  Please compare to corresponding audio if clarity is needed.

Jeremiah: Hi, this is Jeremy Desmarais, Founder of Advisorist and it gives me great pleasure and really it’s an incredible honor to introduce to you one of the hosts of the Advisorist podcast, Michael Levin. Michael is not only a personal friend, but he’s one of the most established ghostwriters in the nation and a New York Times best-selling author who’s written, co-written, or ghostwriter over 550 books. Hundreds of them in the financial services arena of which 18 are national bestsellers. You would be hard pressed to find somebody that hasn’t been in more outlets than Michael. He’s been on Shark Tank, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Politico, the LA Times, The Boston Globe, Writer’s Digest, CBS News. I mean, the guy has even had his work optioned and made for film by Steven Soderbergh of paramount, HBO, Disney, ABC, Frank Perry, and so many more. He ghostwrote for some of the biggest names in sports and business including Dave Winfield, Pat Summerall, Howard Bragman, former Schwab CEO David Pottruck, Marketing legend Jay Abraham, NBA star Doug Christie, and the list goes on and on and on. As the host of All Eyes on You, Michael will bring his unique blend of insights and wisdom as it relates to using books to get to the level of your dreams that you’ve always desired. They are one of the most powerful introduction tools that financial advisors and insurance agents can use today. I know when I got my book written, oh my, did the doors open up that’s why I’m so excited to have Michael hosting All Eyes on You as part of the Advisorist Network. Michael, take it away my friend.

Michael: Hey, it’s Michael and welcome back. My guest today is Jeremiah Desmarais. He has been called one of the greatest marketing minds in the financial industry. But a lot of people including me, he’s gotten all kinds of awards from Direct Marketing News, Web Awards, Marketing Sherpa, he’s got a TED talk. How cool is that? It’s called the Democratization of Marketing. He received a standing ovation when he delivered it, when he shared his personal story of how marketing changed his life. And Jeremiah is a kingpin in the issue of marketing in the insurance industry. He’s helped more than 100,000 insurance and financial advisors in 51 countries generate over 2 million leads, which has led to over 300 million dollars in commissions. I could go on. He’s been on Forbes, Entrepreneur, he’s been on CNN and Worth, and he’s been everywhere. He’s a philanthropist and he does really amazing things with his life. He is one of the most dedicated human beings to humanity, and not just a business that I’ve ever met. So Jeremiah, thank you for taking the time and welcome to the podcast.

Jeremiah: I’m honored, Michael, so good to be with you, my friend.

Michael: Thank you. Jeremiah and I are very dear friends. We love each other and I have an                            enormous enormous respect for him. He has a fabulous book called Shift: Digital Marketing Secrets of Insurance Agents and Financial Advisors. I’m just wondering if we could start off if you could tell me a little bit about the TED talk. What does it mean that marketing helped you change your life? Is that how you met your wife or is there something else?

Jeremiah: There’ll be another book for how I met my wife and that whole story. But it’s kind of amazing because I don’t have a formal education in something beyond high school. I went to Trade School, I ended up learning a few skills in the design arena and when I moved to Chicago from Montreal, I was 21 years old. I was totally green. I was thankful enough to get in under a kind of visa that is almost impossible to get now for anybody and I had 12 months to kind of stake my claim and find a way to earn some money so I can send it back home to mom and dad. That was my goal anyway. So I hustled and I ground on the streets, I ended up finding a company that took me in as a part time designer and then at one point they turned to me, they’re like, “Jer, we really need some leads. Can you generate leads for us?” I’m like, “Sure,” not wanting to lose my visa. I remember going to this Bookstore that night, and buying this book about how to build a website because I figured, okay, we have no money, the best way I can get leads is cold calling, which I was doing already and I’m going to try to figure out this internet thing. So that night, I studied a whole bunch about building websites and doing leads. So this is like 2001, there wasn’t that much as there is today, right? This is like 18 years ago. So I started applying some things, it started to work really well. I’m going to shorten this just a little bit, Michael. But, basically what happened is by working in this little startup environment, and trying to figure out what works, I learned all these skill sets from copywriting to marketing to psychology which I’m just such a personal student of what makes people do what they do. That spilled over into some of the work that I did in Chicago, in the South side working with victims of abuse and the psychology of addicts and people who are drug dealers, and also drug addicts and helping them come off. It changed my life because it opened up many doors for me personally. Just to understand myself, especially that part about psychology, but also to help other people and then another win was obviously in the business environment, understanding how to help people take an ethical action was what helped me to go on to help so many people, which I’m just so grateful for. And frankly, I feel like I’m still in kindergarten. I’m learning every day, I’ve learned so much from you as well that I’m grateful to be here and to have had a small contribution to other people’s lives because of the discovery that I had.

Michael: Okay, well, let’s get right to it. What are the things that you found that have been the most effective for the insurance advisors and the financial advisors you work with that might just work with people in all fields?

Jeremiah: Yeah, great question. So whatever I share in this industry is almost going to work five to 10 times better than any other space and the reason is, this is such a regulated industry. I mean, you have to be licensed to sell this, but I don’t know you’re a baker, or you sell internet services, or you sell consulting, there’s no license required, right? There’s no testing you have to go through, there’s no continuing education class, it’s really easy to get in and just start selling but this is a highly regulated industry. So with that, we always first start with, “Okay, what are the ground rules, right? What are the ground rules?” Then secondly, we love to use digital. So I have the privilege through our company advisors to work with advisors and agents who are just getting started who barely have any money to scrape together and then others that are making $150,000 a month in fees and commissions. So there’s a big range. But Michael, I gotta tell you. Something that we always start with is a foundation in digital. Here’s the reason why. Because if you’re one of the people that has time, but no money, it works really well and if you’re somebody who has money, but no time, digital is fantastic because it really is the most accountable way I’ve discovered to grow a business because you can measure everything. So let me just give you a quick example, right? Let’s take LinkedIn, which kind of sometimes has gotten lost in the whole social media hype world. But study after study shows, and really our real world results show that it is consistently the highest ROI for digital marketing, consistently the best quality prospects that people who are on LinkedIn make three times more in salaries than the people on Facebook. Because it’s a professional network, there’s a lot less chance to get lost in pictures of cute kitties and what I had for lunch. And by taking a professional approach to build a cadence, and it’s kind of a daily cadence that we teach when people are just getting started a 50 and 10, Michael. So that means that every day you want to connect with 50 people who are the ideal prospect for you. It’s not a matter of who has the most followers or connections on LinkedIn, it’s who has the most right connections, right? For example for yourself, as an author you write for CEOs and titans of industries. So for you running a search on LinkedIn, and connecting with presidents, founders, CEOs, maybe people who are in private equity groups who have done a lot, and now they want to maybe share their legacy, that’s probably a really good place for you to start. So we teach people how to do that, do 50 outbound connections a day. By doing that, our research shows that we get anywhere from 23 to 29, or even 30% acceptance. So that will be about 15 people a day roughly that now become a warm prospect and then once you have those 50 new leads every day, and again, you can do this with a free account, you can start messaging them. So that’d be 10 messages a day, outbound, to those people trying to build a relationship, adding value to them and there’s a whole bunch of different like email strategies we teach around that, how to add value before you go for the jugular before asking for the appointment. But Michael, that would just be one example that we teach when people get started with us to help them get on their way.

Michael: I gotta tell you, I know what the listener is saying, “50 emails a day on LinkedIn? I don’t have the time.”

Jeremiah: Yeah, it’s funny. When you get down to it, it actually can go pretty quickly. So 50 outbound connections a day would take you less than 10 minutes. There’s some people out there that even say, “I don’t have time for that,” and that’s okay. I don’t want to do a commercial or anything but we started a service to help people who just suffer from that. They just don’t have the time, but they want the result. So we actually will do it for you. There’s other automation solutions out there as well that integrate with LinkedIn and allow you to just basically login, click, start doing the work and then you can walk away and do whatever you want. From time to time, I even use, I have an old laptop that I used to use and it’s just there sitting on a desk, and it quietly runs in the background and does its thing. That’s the beautiful thing about digital. There’s always new people on the front lines that are trying to hack the system trying to discover new ways to do it. And so we try to stay pretty, up to date to what’s going on, and then pass that on to our community.

Michael: I think LinkedIn is a really a phenomenal place to start because everybody knows that’s where the money is. Everybody knows, “Oh, I ought to be on LinkedIn.” But most people haven’t a clue as to what they should be doing. I write with CEOs, I write with advisors, I write with anybody who has a positive message and in terms of my ghostwriting positive message and as a positive person. So it’s not as they’ll only see us but let’s say I wanted to focus on CEOs in my LinkedIn cold calling. So do I type in ‘CEO’ into the search box, and it’s going to give me thousands of CEOs? Is that how it works?

Jeremiah: Pretty much. You’re going to get way more candidate than you could probably ever prospect by just a generic search. So the next level down would be start in a specific area. So you could do a statewide search. CEOs in Massachusetts, we both happen to be in Massachusetts so you could start ‘CEO Massachusetts’, and you can move on to ‘CEO New York’. Then the other thing too is you can try different types of titles. So somebody might put CEO on their title, and other people might put Chief Executive Officer so typing CEO and Chief Executive Officer will actually yield different results. Other people identify themselves as a President. I was just on the line with a President of one of our clients here who I think it’s a $48 million business and he doesn’t call himself the CEO, he’s the President. So you type in ‘Presidents’ and you’re going to get a whole other suite. Then if you want to upgrade to the LinkedIn Sales Navigator feature, which I recommend anybody does who’s serious. Basically, if you’re going to make over $900 on a deal in an entire year, Sales Navigator will pay for its yearly subscription. But it allows you to then target by size of company. So Michael, let’s say for yourself, if you’re going after those CEOs, and you don’t want to go after somebody who is a CEO business of three people, you can get even further down. You can go by 50 employees plus, 2000 employees plus. You can go by industry. You can do campaigns that are focused on different verticals. You’ve written some phenomenal books for financial advisors so for you, you could do CEO in the financial vertical. Typically, these are smaller offices, usually less than 20, maybe even less than 10 employees and you would do a different messaging technique for them as well.

Michael: Got it. What about posting material on LinkedIn? Is that beneficial?

Jeremiah: Yes, it is. There are a couple of different schools of thought on this. I’ll share with you what’s worked in this industry. First of all, most advisors and actually most professionals don’t have the time, like you said, to remember to post, to share, to like other people’s stuff. I mean, they’re just too busy. But, if somebody can consistently post and this is a little bit of a sensitive area for financial advisors who are regulated by FINRA because FINRA, for those of you who don’t know, is a governing agency that monitors what financial advisors post, and they’re kind of like the police of posting and sharing and marketing in the financial world. If a financial advisor even wants to post something, many times it has to go through several layers of approval before it gets done. When it comes to things like that, we have a really strong partnership with one of our syndicate members called Advisor Stream, which I highly recommend. It’s a tech company that has built an approval engine that’s integrated with a lot of these back offices for advisors and it just automates the process. I’ll tell you a quick story that why I do know this works but I recommend that you automate it, Michael. This actually came from our friends at Advisor Stream. There was a financial advisor who was also an Iron Man athlete. So you know, these folks are pretty intense when it comes to physical conditioning, and usually in life as well. He had started a group on LinkedIn for people who were professionals and into Iron Man competitions. Well, there was an article that came out on Forbes that said, “Why Iron Men make great CEOs.” So he took that article, and he posted it in his private Iron Man Group and he got over 30 people reaching out to him wanting to connect about his financial planning and he ended up getting three clients out of it, which brought in $11 million of assets under management. So you think about the payday of the right message to the right person but if you don’t have an automated solution, what I’ve seen works the best on LinkedIn is personal pictures. People are a little bit scared to show their humanity on LinkedIn because it is a professional network. They’re not going to show pictures of their family or what they had for lunch but things that show the human side of what you do. So for example, let’s say you and the people in your office are getting together for a fun meeting, or you guys are having a company reward day or you got an award or you’re attending an event, take a selfie with some of the people who are there and post it up there. We have one of our members who was on their way to a conference, they were doing a road trip with three other people in the car, they took a little selfie, they posted it to LinkedIn, and they tagged all the people that were the influencers who are going to be at the conference and they got great engagement and likes and new connections just by doing that human side. It was like a road trip picture which you wouldn’t really think you would see on LinkedIn but if you are going to post, make them thoughtful. You don’t have to write a bunch of copy but make them something that show the human side. So instead of like beautiful, glossy pictures, make it something you would snap on your phone. Of course, keep it professional, and you’ll do just fine.

Michael: Okay, I’m confused on many levels.

Jeremiah: Okay.

Michael: Sorry about that. No, I’m never embarrassed to admit that. Let’s take it from the top. If I’m an Iron Man, which I am not and I seen an article about how Iron Men make great or Iron Men and Iron Women make great, Iron persons make great CEOs. Why am I posting that article to a group of fellow iron persons as opposed to posting it to people who could hire me?

Jeremiah:            So the psychology of the Iron Person is they’re quite proud of that and we all kind of know somebody who’s an Iron Man or an Iron Person because they have the bumper sticker, they usually will bring it up that they do. So it’s a badge of pride. When they get validation from a publication like Forbes, and it’s like a third party validation that they’re awesome, not only physically, but in a business sense, they’re going to celebrate that. In terms of the job question, I don’t think I followed you on the job question. You’re asking why would somebody post that if they’re looking for a job?

Michael: Well, why would I post something that would be self-evident to the people to whom I’m posting it, as opposed to… Let’s say, I’m an Iron Man and I’m in an Iron Man group on LinkedIn. Of course I am. Then I see an article about how great Iron Men are as CEOs. I posted to the group, the group goes, “Yeah, look how wonderful we are.” Whereas if I had posted it to a forum of CEOs, or other check writers, people who could hire me to do whatever it is that I do, wouldn’t that be more useful to remind those folks how great Iron Men are as opposed to reminding people who already know and are willing to brag about it?

Jeremiah: Got it. Okay, I understand. So it’s not a matter of this or that, it would be this and that is what I would recommend. Now, I don’t know if he posted it anywhere else but I do know that that group got a lot of results. But yeah, that would be the next smart thing to do. My goal would be to go to a group of CEOs and post that article, right? Because there could be people in there that appreciate the Iron Man ethos, or maybe they are looking for a financial advisor right at that time, and maybe they’re very much into fitness and they value people who value fitness and they want to do business with people who are like them. So yeah, it would be another place for them to post that, Michael. Absolutely.

Michael: Okay. Then when you talk about posting the photo of the road trip, who’s going to care about that? What does that mean that creates engagement? What is engagement? What good is that? How do you put a great engagement on a deposit slip?

Jeremiah: Yeah. That’s why I’m not like a massive fan of encouraging, regular, super thoughtful, incredible posts because just very few people have the talent and the gift to write in such a way that it goes viral, or even gets more than a couple dozen likes. So that’s why I don’t recommend that because the first business I was in, I was in for seven years, we built that startup to epic levels, everything was ROI. So my mind is always on ROI mode. Like in our company, we don’t spend on anything unless we can see a direct result either now or shortly down the future, unless its long term into our clients. So that’s why I love your question, Michael. To specifically talk about that example that I was referring you to, so think about this, right? This person who posted that was a vendor who was going to a conference with 200 potential prospects, roughly, and they had a booth there. What they did is they posted themselves doing a road trip, they tagged people because it was obvious who was going to be at that conference. They were in the industry for at least 10 years, they knew who was going to be there. It was a combination of power partners, potential people that could become clients of theirs, and industry influencers that were speaking. So what happens is by them posting that picture, and then strategically adding the names of the people who are going to be there, the influencers, they automatically got onto the radar of all of those influencers and speakers and potential clients because in LinkedIn it will say, “So and so mentioned you in a post.” You know what happens in our minds, Michael. Anytime we get a notification, Facebook or LinkedIn, Instagram it says, “You’ve been mentioned in a post,” what do we want to do right away?

Michael: We want to go see it.

Jeremiah: Yeah, like, what is there? There’s almost this fear factor, right? What did they say? What’s going on? Why is my name involved? And then they see this friendly picture of somebody that you know, or know of and then that kind of behooves the conversation. Oh, Michael, so cool to see you and your team on the way to the conference. Really looking forward to seeing you guys there. It’s almost like this inherent, “Hey, I mentioned you. I put you out there. I’m really looking forward to seeing you.” It’s almost like you’re encouraging them to get involved in the conversation. I don’t recommend this as something that people need to obsess over but when you have specific events, you’re going somewhere, you’re going to a conference, you’re coming back from an event, you took a couple of pictures, you can say thank you to the conference organizers, met some great people, had some names there, it just kind of shows that you’re out there. Because don’t forget too, Michael, if you’re doing the 50 and 10 every day 15 new potential prospects are compounding that stream. So when they go to LinkedIn, they’re going to see that guy they connected with last week who happens to be an amazing ghostwriter and they’re like, “Oh, look at him. He’s over here. Oh, now look, he’s over here doing this.” But again, I recommend to our members, we don’t obsess about posting. It’s frankly not something we spend that much time on. We think it’s better serve giving it to robots to just do it for you and then occasionally, when you’re doing something and you can show the human side, definitely do that because your humanity centered posts will usually outpace actually almost 100% of the time will get way more engagement than just the posts that are automatically put there and are compliance approved.

Michael: Okay. And when you’re reaching out to the hundred, or let’s just say the fifty CEOs or prospects for whatever your business is, what are you doing with them? Are you sending them invitations to join your network? Are you sending them a note? What exactly are you doing and what should that note say?

Jeremiah: Awesome question. So the wrong way to do it is to send a connection request and say, “Hi, my name is Michael. I noticed your profile here. I help CEOs like you write incredible books of their accomplishments or things that they want to share with the world. I would love to connect with you.” That’s the wrong way to do it because it comes across. They know exactly why you’re connecting. It’s almost like a couch sales pitch and you’ll see that when you go for the jugular like that, your acceptance ratios will go down. So what you would do instead is use a different combination of outreach techniques. We have about 17 different approaches that we’ve tested and that that worked for various industries and markets and depending on actually what part of the country you’re in as well has a factor. But something simple that you can use Michael is so let’s say you’re connecting with the CEO, “Hi, John. I noticed that you’ve built a successful business here in Boston, and I happen also be in Boston. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to connect. Looks like we have some mutual friends. Hope businesses is great. -Michael.” That’s it. Very, very simple. Another technique is we had one of our members do this with incredible success and kind of blew up her appointment book for two months. She had to stop. She went back to her alma mater because most universities have alma maters on LinkedIn. So she joined a group of her alma mater, and then started connecting with everybody using, “Hey, I noticed you just went to Trinity University, Trinity College, and I was there from this year to this year. I’d love to connect with you.” People were so jazzed to engage with someone who had also graduated there. Doesn’t matter what year they graduated. From there, she got just a whole bunch of people that wanted to talk to her and she was able to set up a whole bunch of appointments for her insurance business in the process. So the key, Michael, is look for common interests with people. It could be a similar group you’re in, it could be a city, it could be a passion and you would see that through the groups that they’re involved in. Let’s go back to the Iron Man example, “Hey, I noticed you’re also in the same group. I saw your name, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to connect. Hope all as well. When’s your next race?”

Michael: People see that as sincere?

Jeremiah: Some do and some don’t. Just look at the numbers, right? 30% will say, “Yes”, 70% they’re not going to. There’s two kinds of schools of thinking on LinkedIn. People who are there are some are open connectors. Maybe they’re like, they’re just happy to connect with everyone because they know it’s the power of the six degrees of separation. And then some people are like, “If I don’t know you, I don’t connect with you.” So some people see it as sincere. Other people don’t. But at the end of the day, for most businesses, it’s just a massive number game, you just got to just keep moving on.

Michael: Well as it’s true with any form of prospecting. So let’s say that you get a nice note back from somebody, you said, “Hey, I went to such and such college or I’m an Iron Man and so are. We’re both in Boston, we should connect.” And they write back and say, “Sure.” Okay, what’s the next step?

Jeremiah: Great question. So what this technique that I’m going to share is actually used by one of our younger members out in California, and one of the techniques we use is the go giver. So the go giver approach, based on the best-selling book, is about approaching every relationship with a desire to give first, right? I know you’re somebody who’s like that. Jay Abraham, who introduced the two of us is somebody like that. So if you take that mentality on LinkedIn, you’re not only going to have way more fun just meeting cool people, but you’re going to be more successful. So the approach we take is, this is just one approach, “Hey, Michael. It was really good to connect and I would just love to network with you. I’m doing a lot of meetings from people that I meet here on LinkedIn and there could be somebody that could use what your company offers. Either way, it would just be cool to get on the phone and talk shop related to our mutual interest, whether it be Iron Man, or singing, or whatever it is. Here’s a link to my calendar.” That networking approach, and you don’t have to be that formal. Like one of our members who’s doing this, he’s getting three out of five people who he connects with are saying, “Yes, let’s network,” and he does it very cool. He doesn’t automate it, he does it by hand. The first message is like, “Hey, Michael, thanks for connecting.” Then another message, “I was checking out your profile. We should network.” Then another message, “Here’s my phone number.” When he sends his phone number like that very informal, he almost always gets a phone number back, and then they jump on the phone, and then they talk. When you get on that call, it’s not to sell it’s to network, right? Networking is all about looking for ways to give. So, “Hey, tell me about your business, Michael? Oh, that’s awesome. What made you get started in that? What’s a great client for you? Like as I go through my calls this week, and I can go back into my mental Rolodex, what would be some of you would love to meet? Awesome, is there anything you think I could do in my network right now to support you?” Then naturally, after doing that for 5 or 10 minutes, or really trying to get to know the person, usually the good people say, “Well, I’ve been talking about myself. What about you? Tell me, what do you do?” Well, what I happen to do is… Then that’s when you go into your small USP (Unique Sales Proposition) or elevator pitch, but you have to be sincere. If you’re someone who’s just like looking to crush deals and burn through people that will not work. Especially in the financial services world, statistics show that most affluent prospects want to see you favorably in three positive interactions before they even open up the conversation about financial planning. So that’s why the go giver model works so so well in an environment where you’re trying to build relationships from a cold social platform like LinkedIn.

Michael: Do you think that if a person has limited time to prospect, going the LinkedIn route, and connecting with strangers is more effective than going through your prior contacts, seeing how they’re doing, reaching out with them, rekindling relationships? Sometimes it seems as though we’re more interested in the people we don’t know than the people we know. What do you think of that?

Jeremiah: You’re absolutely right. The reason why we have a certain bias towards the cold market is most people who’ve come to us have been taught the same way of marketing, insurance and financial planning for 50 years, which is make a list of everybody you know, call them up, look for an appointment and the people who say they’ll get an appointment, if they don’t buy from you, try to get a referral from them is an industry that is totally burnt out on referral marketing. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are entire tribes of advisors that swear by referrals and there’s entire courses. We actually teach referrals as one of the core strategies that you should be able to master in your journey as an agent. So yes, I totally agree. But most people come to us, they don’t want to hear any of that kind of stuff. They come to us, they’re like, “Hey, we know you guys have generated like millions and millions of prospects digitally. I want to get a little piece of that, how do I get started? So most of the time, especially we do private coaching, we help people maximize their referrals. First, we have a concept we teach called rocket referrals, which actually leverages a combination of social selling with the people you already know and it’s supremely effective. Then once they get that in place, to me, that’s a low hanging fruit. You and I both know, studies show referrals close at 80% to 90%. Most people want to do business with somebody through a referral. So you can’t beat those numbers but once you’ve got that down, you need something that’s more consistent because referrals are not consistent but automation and strategic digital marketing plans can be put into a consistent workflow where people are getting consistently four appointments a week, two appointments a week like clockwork with exactly the kind of people they want to talk to.

Michael: Okay. So at what point do you actually bring in… This is the last question, you’ve been very generous with your time. At what point do you want to bring in selling into this conversation with your new friend on LinkedIn?

Jeremiah: So it normally happens naturally. You’re going to find out if there’s a fit after you tell them what you do. So there’s a scripted process, we teach for this, but basically, you tell them what you do, who specifically you do it for and then you have a transitional statement. One transitional statement could be, “Would you have any objection of me offering you a complimentary audit of your life insurance policy?” Or something like that, that kind of goes into and saying, “No, it’s okay. I’m good.” No problem at all. But if you run across a business owner that has 50 employees or less, I love to talk to those people, and then you can ask for a future referral there. Then keep in mind your drip marketing system. So we also teach the importance of after you’ve connected in person, put them in a drip system so that if you write a newsletter once a month, or you have a local event or workshops, put them in that drip system so that you stay top of mind for them.

Michael: So how long is it realistically, from the time that you first reach out to someone until you’re actually giving them a clear sales pitch?

Jeremiah: Every industry is different. Do you want me to comment more on the insurance or financial one, or what I’ve seen in other markets as well?

Michael: Honestly, both because we have listeners in financial services, we have listeners in other fields as well.

Jeremiah: Great. So if you have a very clear value proposition, and you are hyper targeting people, then I’ve seen many times there’s only… This is let’s say, you go for the jugular approach, which is right after they connect. We didn’t talk about this, but after the connection, you right away send a message and tell them exactly what you do and you have a link to your calendar. If you are hitting a hot button and you have a well-crafted value proposition, many times you’ll get appointments on your calendar the same week. You really don’t have to wait that long. With financial services, it can be a little bit longer with using the go giver approach which can take a little longer, but usually the quality of connection is higher. In insurance, for example, commercial lines where you’re trying to offer cyber liability, workers comp, and so on and so forth, I’ll just take a case study of one of our clients. We did a private coaching for a group of I think about seven of them and we taught them all these techniques that I’m sharing with you today. Within about 45 days, and again, this is a longer sales cycle and sometimes up to six months can be the sales cycle. But within 90 days, they were meeting with one new Chief Financial Officer every week. It took a while to build the pipeline and to get that going but we’re not talking like deals where you make $100 here. We’re talking about deals that you make tens of thousands of dollars in commissions over the course of the whole year. They’re okay to be patient that way. But, if you have a clear value proposition, and you know exactly what you do, like for example, if we were to write one for you, and we targeted directly to those people, the financial advisor crowd and then we do one for the CEO crowd, I think that you wouldn’t have to wait that long. You wouldn’t have to go through the whole conversation approach. You could just basically, “Here’s what I do. If you’re interested in having a chat, here’s a link to my calendar. I would love to connect”, boom, move on. Then basically, the system does it for you.

Michael: Can’t beat that. Jeremiah, if people want more of you, if they want to learn more about what you offer, or more about how you can help them with their marketing, aside from reading the book ‘Shift’, of which I am a big believer, Shift: Digital Marketing Secrets of Insurance Agents and Financial Advisors, which will help people in any field, where should they go and what will they find?

Jeremiah: Great. Well, the book is available on Amazon anytime. If you’re a financial advisor or an insurance agent, and you’re looking for practical ways to grow your business that actually work today that is not rehashed from 20-30 years ago, check out some of the blog posts at That’s the word advisor and then -ist at the end, would be great. Then if you just want to connect with me personally, I’m most active on LinkedIn. If you can guess how to spell the name Desmarais, you deserve a connection, my friend because it’s one of those complicated French names. Before we close out, Michael, I told you this personally, but I think that I want to say this on the record that if it wasn’t for you ‘Shift’ would not exist.  I remember that one day, I was actually visiting my folks up in Montreal, and I had completed the book. I had rewritten it three times and I thought it was garbage. Like I just thought it was garbage. I said, “Who’s gonna want to read this? This is useless information.” I had a total like imposter syndrome moment and I said, “Okay, the one guy that I know is going to tell it to me straight is Michael.” So I remember sending you an email with the manuscript attached and you wrote back the most encouraging, loving letter that was also real. Remember you told me in that letter, you said, “It’s my duty to tell people whether their stuff is good or not because I don’t want to see them fail. So I have to tell them if it’s bad.” I actually cried when I got your letter. It was the one thing I needed to hear in order to move forward. I just want to say thank you. I was ready to trash the tens of thousands of dollars I had spent building it for three years, the drafts I was ready to just kill it and then your letter encouraged me. So if it wasn’t for you, my friend, Shift should have not existed. I just wanted to go on record to publicly thank you and acknowledge you and will just let you know how grateful I am and how much I appreciate you, Michael.

Michael: Jeremiah, thank you for the kind words. I appreciate them very much. I stand by my statements about your book and about you and about our friendship. So thank you for taking the time and I think everybody will have gotten a lot out of this conversation. So thanks again.

Jeremiah: Thank you. I’m honored.

Michael: Okay, take care. Thank you. Bye bye.

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Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah is the founder and CEO of Advisorist® and is a 23-time award winning financial marketer, a TED speaker and philanthropist. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNN, and Worth. His work has generated over $2 million insurance leads and helped advisors in over 51 countries generate over $300 million in sales commissions. He is the author of the best selling book, SHIFT.

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