Seth Godin 

The work you do as a Real Financial Professional is insanely valuable.


So says the author of 19 best-selling books, Seth Godin. The question is: How do you reach the people looking for what you have to offer?

If anybody could answer that question, I figured it would probably be Seth, whose latest best-seller is called This is Marketing. So I sat down with him to talk about the deep wisdom in this book, and how it applies to financial professionals just like you.

The conversation we had is so incredibly valuable it would be criminal not to share. There was a thought to summarize it in writing, but there’s far too much gold and nuance in what Seth has to say for that. Instead, what you’ll find below is the full video and some detailed show notes to clue you in on some of the highlights. We even went so far as to cross-reference our conversation with the corresponding Declarations you’ll find in The Society of Advice.




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0:00 – 6:30 Introductions. Seth apologizes for being sick (just once). A quick quip about hair cuts.

6:30 – 9:25 Seth dissects the question: “What’s a book for?” And explains how that question ties into what a financial advisor does for work.

Declaration 3: We Share Our Work

9:30 – 11:20 A detailed look at the difference between marketing and spamming.

“You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be the kind of person who is secretive, cutting corners, and manipulating things for the people who want that; and also be someone like you, for the people who want that. You’ve got to say, ‘You know what? There are 2 million financial advisors. But there are only 1,000 who are going to be the kind of financial advisor I am. And I have a list of 100 people I can refer you to if you don’t like the way I do it and you don’t like the way I charge for it. In fact, I am eager to send you to those people if it’s not for you.’”

11:30 – 16:15 Just as there’s a difference between marketing and spamming, there’s also a difference between Real Financial Professionals and fake ones. Seth dives into why there are so many fakes out there, and the secret to not becoming one.

18:00 – 21:05 As financial advisors (heck, as humans), we are finite. We can’t work with everybody, nor should we. So, how do we have the courage to say no… sometimes to what looks like a big opportunity? Seth has answers, as well as the final word on the difference between entrepreneurs and freelancers.

Declaration 4: We Decide Who To Work With

21:05 – 22:35 Hairdressers, massage therapists, and advisors, oh my! Riddle me this: How do we get referrals when one person never says to the other, “Oh my gosh, that new portfolio looks so good on you! Where did you get it?”

“The part of your job that you think is hard is actually really easy. The part that you think is hard; I can go online and pay someone $12 to do…”

24:00 – 29:30 Seth drops a major knowledge bomb; Carl reads a powerful quote from Seth’s book; and Seth talks about con men, Tesla, and why you should never lower your price.

Declaration 14: We Value The Process Over The Plan

29:30 – 32:17 What happens if you do lower the price? Seth gets clear about our value as advisors using apple cider vinegar pills, and the jazz pianist Patricia Barber as examples. Yep, no joke. Only Seth can pull something like this off.

“If the Dow drops 175 points in one day and you alert your people, you have made a grievous error. Because, first of all, most of them don’t know what the DOW is. And even if they do know what it is, most of them are mentally healthy enough to know that it doesn’t matter what it did in one day… It might have been relevant to YOU, but it’s not relevant to THEM unless you have a different client who’s sitting there watching the financial pornography network all day long. That person desperately needs to hear from you. And if you don’t reach out to them because vibrations in the DOW don’t matter to you, you just lost them. Because it matters to them.”

38:20 – 40:15 Carl and Seth dig into the idea of relevancy, and how to meet your clients where they are to address their needs.

Declaration 6: We Put Clients First

40:30 – 41:40 Carl talks about smugness and empathy.

“Many financial advisors are happy to take credit for the inexorable ratchet of forward progress that the U.S. economy has had for 90 years but don’t want to take the blame for when it doesn’t happen. The outside world has no sympathy for either of those things.”

41:44 – 43:10 Seth goes on a rant about taking credit when it’s not deserved, whether in finances or pediatrics.

Declaration 16: We Embrace Reality

43:50 – 44:35 Carl tells a story about a client who mistook him for Santa Claus and digs into the difference between the financial plan and the art of financial planning.

45:10 – 47:15 Seth illustrates the concept of smallest viable audience, and how to use that idea in our marketing.

“The Mona Lisa has a huge presence on Instagram and Snapchat. She’s everywhere. But she doesn’t have an account. And the reason is, other people are posting pictures of her. So the question is, do you want to be someone who is posting about what other people are doing, or do you want to be the person who is getting posted about?”

48:10 – 50:30 Seth explains the difference between being the tool and using the tool when it comes to social media.

52:30 – 55:05 Everyone is lonely, and everyone feels like a fraud. This is part of the human condition. So… what are we gonna do about it? Seth has some pretty good ideas.

Declaration 8: We Are Professionally Confident



That’s it, folks. Thanks for watching!

I hope you found this as valuable as I did.

Again, if you enjoyed this conversation, I know for a fact that you would LOVE The Society of Advice. Much of what Seth and I talked about hinges on concepts we visit regularly on the inside.

Just tell me where to send your invite. I promise you won’t regret it.


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