If I was to call you stupid how would you feel? You’d probably be offended, but I can guarantee, the message would get your attention. I’ll explain that in a bit.

The first thing I want to talk about is systems. I just finished writing my fifth book called “Toilet Paper Math“, and it explains how a system of marketing can work. The bottom line with systems is they only work when you feed them the right message for the right audience at the right time.

Hands Tied In A Knife Fight

I’ve talked recently with a handful of financial advisors who obviously are having trouble because we’re in the middle of very challenging times. And they’re trying to figure out how they can get their message out. Unfortunately, most financial advisors are going to a knife fight with both hands tied behind their backs. What do I mean by this? It’s called compliance.

The thing about being a financial advisor is the SEC and other governmental bodies will not allow them to make promises or promote products. When you see financial commercials, you’ll often see a disclaimer that says results may vary. That’s because nobody can predict the financial markets. If they make a promise, there are no guarantees because there is no way to predict the future.

Each of them has marketing systems. They have lists, they have funnels, they have mailers, emails, and seminars. They have a wide variety of things they can do, but the one thing that they can’t do is create a message that really gets people’s attention. That’s the key. If they did try to do something that was outside the box, they could lose their business.

They’re regulated and constrained, in ways that most of us aren’t.

I want to offer you up three different tools that you can use to get people’s attention so that the systems that you put together will actually work the way you want them to.


The first type of message at your fingertips is a disruptive message. One of those kinds of messages actually got a president elected. In 1992, James Carville coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid.” And that took the Clinton campaign to the White House.

Another way to say this, and let me say it two different ways is the K.I.S.S. method. You’ve heard it said as, “Keep It Simple, Stupid” or “Keep It Super Simple”. If you say, “Keep It Simple, Stupid”, it invokes a different message than “Keep It Super Simple”. The way that you say things can disrupt the way that you think.

Brands and advertisers use this all the time. There was a commercial back when I was a kid and it had a bunch of people in a restaurant and it was all noisy and clangy. Then, one guy says to another person at his table, “Well, my broker’s E. F. Hutton and E. F. Hutton says…” And the entire place goes quiet.

Then the announcer comes on and says, “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen.” And that’s exactly it. You want to create something that gets people to stop in their tracks.

Some brands that use this are Nike, “Just Do It.” What is it? It’s whatever you want it to be. And Apple, “Think Different.” Think differently than what? Different than you had before?


The next kind of interruptive way of doing things is asking a deep question. What would happen if you…? And that’s the question you have to ask, you have to get the person to feel like you’re talking directly to them. How about if I asked you this, how could $50,000 change your life? If I wait for a second, you’re going to start to roll that through your head and start to come up with different ways that you could utilize that.

Another way to say that is, “Would you honestly pay for what you sell if somebody else offered it?” Again, you’re putting that person in the customer’s mind. You’re changing their perspective. By asking those deep questions, you get people to stop, pause, think, and engage with the information as if it was meant directly for them.

The Magical Metaphor

The last messaging tool I want to give you is what I call the magical metaphor. You’ve probably heard the term and I love this one, perfume on a pig or lipstick on a pig. You can clean up a pig, put a ribbon on its tail and spray it with perfume, but it’s still a pig. Another one that I really like is cat herding.

How do you herd cats? Or how about nailing jello to a wall? Both of those create a message in your mind. And that message says, it’s impossible, right? That’s the key to get somebody to get the concept through the metaphor.

And I Quote

Here are some real famous ones.

“All the world is a stage and the men and the women are merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. So you can imagine being in a play and we’re all part of that play.”

– William Shakespeare

“All of our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.”

– Khalil Gibran. .

“A hospital bed is a park taxi with the meter running.”

– Groucho Marx

Man, I can really relate to that last one!

Getting Attention

When we’re trying to create systems, we have to feed those systems with messages that are going to get attention. Messages that are going to make our concepts stick out and allow the audience to get in their minds so they can imagine something. Then they can feel empathy or a part of it. Something creates an emotion that helps urge them to take action. That action is to, hopefully, continue reading, to dig deeper, or to take the next step. What action are you trying to get them to take? How can you use your messages as the catalyst to start that process?

Final Thoughts

Let me leave you with this, systems are important. You need to be able to get those messages in there so that people will go through the steps to join the list, to open the email, to attend your webinar or seminar. From there you have the opportunity to continue the conversation. But the messages that you put out there are the most important ingredient. And that’s why you have to spend so much time thinking about how those messages play out in the minds of your listeners.

So again, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Another blast from the past were t-shirts that had hands with fingers pointing on them that men and women would wear together and the fingers would point at each other and above it, it would say, “I’m with stupid.”

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about a message that connects. Are these tips making your business better? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?