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James Robert Lay 

There is one word that differentiates financial brand marketing sales and leadership teams who are just dreaming about maximizing their future digital growth potential compared to those that are doing it right now today. What's that one word that one word is discipline. That's why in today's episode of the banking on digital growth podcast, I am going to give you three practical ways that you can level up your discipline starting today, so that you can level up your digital growth potential so that you can level up loans and deposits going forward into the future.

 

Greetings and Hello, my name is James Robert Lay, and I'd like to welcome you to another episode of the banking on digital growth podcast. This episode is part of the practical perspective series. And before I share three practical ways, you can differentiate your financial brand from those who just dream about maximizing their digital growth potential compared to those who are doing it right now today.

 

I have a question that I want to ask you. It's an important question. Have you ever secret shopped your financial brands website, your bank website, your credit union website, your FinTech website. You see if you're like the 85 to 92% of financial brands that have never conducted a secret shopping stutter in your website, there is a strong possibility that you're losing millions, if not 10s of millions of dollars in loans and deposits because of unseen gaps in your digital buying journeys. What happens here, these unseen gaps, they create confusion. They create friction, they create frustration for people coming to your website to open account or apply for a loan. Here's the good news. Our websites secret shopping studies have helped show dozens of financial brands, where they're losing millions and loads of deposits. For a key product line, we only focus on one product line at a time to keep focus. And we're able to do this in less than 30 days and for less than $5,000. Even better. We guarantee these financial brands that have a website secret shopping study can't find at least $5,000 worth of value for them to recapture, they get they get 100% refund. So this removes all financial risk from them committing to conducting a website secret shopping study in the first place. But here's the thing. A website secret shopping study only creates value for those that have the discipline to apply the insights that they gain, so that they can bridge these unseen gaps that are costing them millions and loans and deposits.

 

That's exactly why I want to give you three practical ways. You can level up your discipline, as a leader starting today. It doesn't matter if you're coming at this from the marketing perspective, the sales perspective and executive perspective and operations perspective. You can level up your discipline, so that you can level up your loans and deposits going forward in a digital world.

 

But first, before we do that, I want to take you back to my freshman English class. This was probably 1994 or so I was in the ninth grade in Miss bongos AP English class, a Deer Park High School in Texas. And in our class, there was a poster it hung on the wall with the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken. And every day I was in this class, I would sit in my chair and look at this poster. And I would read two roads diverged in a wood. And I took the one less traveled. And that has made all the difference. On this poster was a picture of a dirt road in the dirt road. It split into two paths in the woods, one path went to the left and the other path went to the right and every day I would sit for the entire school year. And I would have just look at this postcard study the picture and read the words read the poem. And I would wonder to myself, I would think to myself, what path should I take? If I was like in the picture, what path would I take? Do I take the left path or do I take the right path? Which of these two roads the left path, the right path? Which of these two roads is the one that's less traveled? Now one day as I was sitting there, I was like I had an epiphany an entirely new thought It entered into my mind that would forever change the way that I looked at this picture and thought about this poem. What if the road less traveled? It's not the right path. It's not the left path. What if the road less traveled is the path that actually goes through the middle of the woods? A path that you can't see. Because it's the path that only a few just choose to take. You see, to choose the path that cuts through the wood. You have to take the road less traveled. To do this, you need courage. You need discipline. Because the path to the left the path to the right, well, you could see both of those paths. Why? Because the path that people have walked before many people have walked before. But the road less traveled was the path that I committed to take my freshman year of high school inspired by this Robert Frost poem. Because since that time, I've chosen to continue to blaze a new trail through the woods, so that I can see what others don't see.

 

This is the reason that when we facilitate websites, secret shopping studies for financial brands, what are we doing, we're helping them see what they can't see before we're showing them the unseen gaps in their digital consumer journeys that are costing them literally millions, if not 10s, of millions in loans and deposits. And that's not hyperbole. Not only these websites, secret shopping studies illuminate gaps in the buying journeys, they also are shining a light on other gaps, internal gaps within their marketing and sales, either their positioning their processes, or more oftentimes the not both. So we go to work to provide further recommendations to provide further insights of how to bridge these internal external gaps with the digital growth blueprint. And then a funny thing happens. Out of all the insights that we have shared from the 1200, plus websites, secret shopping studies that we've conducted 100% with the financial brands that we have worked with, they appreciate the new perspective that they gained from these studies to because we're helping them see what they can't see, we're already taking them down the third path, if you will, the one that cuts through the wood. But this is also where the road begins to split between those who dream about leveling up their loans and deposits with his newfound knowledge. And those that actually apply the knowledge, you see the difference between those that dream. And those that do comes down to one thing. It's discipline.

 

In fact, the financial brands who have the discipline to do, they end up applying the knowledge and insights that they gain every 90 days because they commit to these quarterly website secret shopping studies. As they know that every 90 days, they're going to learn something new that they can do to make their website even better, not just a website. And I think it's an important distinction here. The website is just one element into the larger context of a digital buying journey.

 

But I want to come back to discipline. Because it's discipline. That is the key differentiator on what I call the spectrum between those who dream and those who do. And in a time, right now that can feel increasingly complex, because of all the exponential changes that are happening around technology that are driving changes in the competition that are driving changes in consumer behavior. being disciplined, to do difficult things, while at the same time deflecting distractions. That's the road less traveled. When you're disciplined to do difficult things, you will find that you just you don't survive. You thrive.

 

That's because it's through your discipline actions. You're constantly communicating your confidence. And when you constantly communicate your confidence, you're aligning a path towards the Future to guide others towards an even bigger, better and brighter future that they can't see right now, think about your account holders who are struggling financially, they're looking for two things. They're looking for help, they're looking for hope. But for many people, particularly those who are looking for a path forward on their own financial journey, help, has to come second to hope. People need hope, before they're able and willing to ask for help.

 

So my question to you is, how can you level up your discipline to level up your loans and deposits in difficult times? Here are three practical ways to guide you forward. The first step is to decide, decide what is most important right now. And then define a definitive and clear path forward, even if the path forward is down the path over the road less traveled. Now, it's dangerous, I get as dangerous to think that your path might be the one down the road less traveled, you think there's a lot of danger, you don't know what is down that path, because it's a path that you've never taken before. But it is also dangerous to think that your path forward is the same path that everyone else is taking. That's because I see a major problem right now within financial services, particularly when it comes to financial brand websites. That problem is I define it as r&d. It's an r&d problem. And this r&d problem, it takes financial brands down the wrong path when they build their websites. And that's one of the reasons that they end up is just, you know, they build a new website. And it might look better. But does it lead to future growth? Is it still a glorified online brochure? Or is it really a website that sells? Odds are, it's probably a glorified online brochure based upon not my not my opinion, is the opinion of people that have been part of these 1200 Plus digital secret shopping studies, these websites, secret shopping studies that we've conducted. You see the r&d problem. r&d does that stand for research and development? r&d actually stands for rip off and duplicate. And at this point, I have lost count of how many financial brand marketing sales leadership teams, tell me about what a competitor is doing on their website. Sure, it is important to be mindful of the competition. In fact, when we facilitate a website, secret shopping study, we're benchmarking a financial brand against two or three other financial brands. Sometimes it's a local competitor. Sometimes it is a regional or a national competitor. Sometimes it's another fintech. But we have to be mindful of mindlessly ripping off and duplicating exactly what another financial brand is doing. Particularly when it comes to their websites, because it's easy thing to think about. When your financial brand built a website, maybe you were involved in that project, maybe you weren't, maybe you were secondary to the person leading the project. But you're asked your opinion, how many other financial brand websites that you look at for inspiration. Because more often than not, it's the blind leading the blind down the wrong path. Remember, Two roads diverged in the woods. Now you can take the one less traveled, you could do that. In fact, we've guided other financial brands down that path. And those that have had the courage to go down the path of the road less traveled, they have increased their digital leads by as much as 15 100%. But it required courage. Because for one of these financial brands, we recommended they cut about 70 to 80% of the pages that they had on their website. The way that this particular website was structured, was creating a tremendous amount of complexity for a potential account holder and that complexity will was leading to confusion. And as a result, they weren't getting the conversions they needed. Remove the complexity, remove the pages, reduce the confusion, increase the clarity. And what do you get, you get increased conversions. But it was counterintuitive to what a lot of the leadership team within the financial brand thought that created some conflict and chaos within the organization. And I think the point is, these are not our opinions that we're sharing. When we provide finding an insights, and recommendations coming from these websites, secret shopping studies, these are the perspectives the feelings, the emotions of prospective account holders, who are in the market for a checking account who are in the market for a loan. But be careful when you choose to take the road less travel, because there are dangers to be aware of.

 

And that brings us to point number two, when it comes to building our discipline, our discipline to do difficult things. And point number two is we have to deflect distraction. You see when you make a commitment to go down the road less traveled, there are going to be a number of dangerous distractions that pop up along the way, and could prevent you from continuing to move forward. These distractions can they can trap you. Or they could also cause you to retreat back to what I call the cave of complacency where you end up doing nothing at all. You maintain the status quo. You do nothing with the knowledge but the insights that you gain from these websites, secret shopping studies. Where did these distractions come from? What how do they show up? There are a couple of flavors, we'll call them. The first first distraction is shiny object syndrome. And this happens when someone is your financial brand. They come back from a conference, they tell you about all the new technology that they heard about at this conference. And they want you to go and get a demo. And when they want to do a demo with you, they want to show you how cool this new technology is. But in reality, this new technology is nothing more than a distraction. It pulls you off focus. It takes you down the wrong path. Then there are what we'll call human driven distractions. And these human driven distractions, like fear, they can pull you off the path. Fear of the unknown fear of change, fear failure. These fears are even more true. When you make a commitment to go down the road less traveled. And try something quote unquote, new for the first time. I think about the financial brands that we have worked with it and have guided over the years. Many of them asked for Well who else is doing this? We want proof that this is going to work. And a lot of times I'm going to push back on that. Because sometimes you need to experiment. You need to learn first principles thinking start from the ground and build something new. And then they push back saying what if it fails? And I respond, failure does that exist? You either win or you learn and that reframes their entire mindset or reframes their entire perspective because they know they no longer have to worry about failure because they have the freedom to learn. And when we think about these three fears, the unknown fear of change, fear of failure.

 

This brings us to our third point of leveling up our discipline. How do we do this? How can you do this? This is something that you can start doing right now today and I guarantee it will level up your discipline like never before. do that whether you're listening to this in the morning or the in the evening, the next time that you step into the shower, take a cold shower. And you might laugh at this one and think, how is a daily Cold Shower going to help me level up my discipline so that I can level up my loans deposits and my financial brand? I'm gonna tell you, but I want to let you know this first. I would not be making this recommendation if I did not put myself in this practice if I was not practicing this, myself. And I can share with you from personal experience. taking cold showers, and even ice baths have helped me to massively increase my AQ, or my what's known as my adaptability quotient. You see, when you take a cold shower, you're literally building resiliency and your ability to adapt to changes in your environment. You're mastering your mind. In the mind, your mind is the most important technology that you can master in the age of AI. That's because when you decide to step into a cold shower, you're taking control of your mind. You're overcoming that discomfort. Because you know the moment that you step into a cold shower, you're going to feel very uncomfortable, if not even miserable. But I will tell you after applying this practice now for about a year myself. I no longer gasp and no longer scream even getting into a cold shower. It's because I know how to respond to the cold versus reacting to the cold. You see, as human beings we are programmed to avoid discomfort and painful situations. This is why cold showers they really can help you overcome the three fears. Fear of the unknown fear of change, fear of failure because all of these fears they are associated with some sort of pain or discomfort. Fear of the unknown it makes you feel uncomfortable. Fear of change change. Change is scary. Change is painful. This is a key theme for my next book banking on change. And then fear of failure well what if you just transformed failure into learning and going forward from here on out you either win or you learn and never fail again. Finally, when you commit to take a cold shower, to level up your discipline, you're getting a double discipline bonus here if you will, number one, you are in fact committing to take the road less traveled. Think about not many people are committed to a daily cold shower. Number two, you are increasing your AQ are your adaptability quotient which is comprised of grit and resiliency. So take a cold shower.

 

Because as you continue to move forward and make progress along your own digital growth journey, I dare you to to two things first, I dare you to dream. I dare you to dream big dream bigger than you've ever dreamed before about how you can help guide even more people in the communities that you're serving along their financial journey to get to an even better future to get to a better future for themselves, for their families, for the business. You see, as a result, when you get people to an even better future you are going to level up your loans and deposits. But don't just dream big dreams. That's because I double dog dare you to apply new consumer insights, quote unquote thick data if you will, that you can gain through orderly websites, secret shopping studies. Because these new insights, they're going to provide you with clarity. They're going to be your light that provides a path forward to create an even bigger, better and brighter future for people in your community. Sure, it is easy to take the road that everyone else is taking to do what everyone else is doing to even do what you've always done before because it's the road you know. And the road, you know, might look smooth and might appear easy. But is it the right road? Is it the right path. And most importantly, is what you find at the end of that road, going to take you to the next level. The other hand, you can commit to take the road less travel, you can commit to blaze a new trail through the woods. And when you do that, that's when you get to see what others don't get to see. That's when you get to do what others don't get to do. And you can do this right now today by being disciplined to do difficult things. For this through your discipline actions, you confidently communicate confidence. And when you constantly communicate confidence, you light a path forward to guide others to an even bigger, better and brighter future. I want to thank you for joining me for another episode of the baking on digital growth podcast. I look forward to sharing time with you again very soon. Until next time, and as always, be well. Do good. Be the light

Brief Summary of Episode #367

There is one word that differentiates financial brand marketing sales and leadership teams who are just dreaming about maximizing their future digital growth potential compared to those that are doing it right now today.

Discipline.

The discipline to difficult things, while at the same time deflecting distractions.

That's the road less traveled.

When you're disciplined to do difficult things, you will find that you just you don't just survive. You thrive.

That's why in this episode of the Practical Perspective series, James Robert Lay gives you three practical ways that you can level up your discipline, so that you can level up your digital growth potential into the future. 

Key Insights and Takeaways

  • Financial brand websites suffering from an R&D problem. (9:33)
  • Strategies for eliminating digital distractions (13:41)
  • Leveling up discipline through cold showers and new insights. (19:47)