How to be successful as a financial advisor
Finding success as a financial advisor is important to growing your business to a sustainable level. But that can mean encountering various obstacles and challenges along the way. This is not unusual in and of itself, but the way you approach bumps in the road can affect the results you can achieve. Are you wondering how to be a good financial advisor? Here are some of the most important characteristics that advisors share with successful businesses and comprehensive client lists.
Successful financial advisors are focused
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a counselor is letting distractions get you off course. This can prevent you from focusing your time and energy on business activities designed to get you closer to goals.
âSuccessful advisors don’t waste time and money buying all the available sales systems,â says Dawn Santoriello, Certified Financial Planner and President of DS Financial Strategies.
Instead, the right advisors keep it simple so they can eliminate white noise and achieve their goals.
âYou only need one system that works for you,â says Santoriello. âNetworking and building awareness of your target market is essential for success. “
If you find yourself feeling pulled in too many directions in your efforts to scale, think about what works and delivers a solid return on your time investment. And remove the things that drain your energy and resources.
Successful financial advisors put communication first
Customers are the reason your business exists. It is therefore important that you communicate with them regularly to better understand their needs and how best to serve them.
âSome financial advisers only call their clients when the market is doing well, but clients want that call when there is a downturn,â says Nolan McIntosh, investment advisor representative at McIntosh & Associates in Freeland, Michigan.
Staying in regular communication with customers, whether it’s a phone call, email, or in-person meeting, can help build trust. This confidence can be critical to your long term success.
âTime and confidence are two things that go hand in hand for a financial advisor,â says McIntosh.
He says that while people can take a doctor’s opinion at face value if they are sick, it may take longer for them to trust someone with their money. Keeping in touch regularly is one way to gain that trust.
Think about how often you contact customers and if the frequency could be increased. And also consider how your customers prefer to communicate, and then tailor your communications to those preferences.
Successful financial advisors know how to listen
Having conversations with customers on a consistent basis is important in building trust. But these conversations can be meaningless if you’re not listening to what your customers are saying.
âEvery client has a story worth hearing,â says Victor Medina, president and founder of Palante Wealth Advisors in Pennington, New Jersey.
Too often, Medina says, advisers rush to find a solution and don’t spend enough time listening to clients. This can lead to missed opportunities to meet the client’s needs and it can even be off-putting enough to send them to seek financial assistance elsewhere.
âIf you want to be successful as a financial advisor, stay curious in all of your meetings and research their stories,â says Medina.
Successful Financial Advisors Know Who They Are Helping
Part of successfully growing your business means knowing who you want to help. In other words, it’s about finding your niche or target market. âWhen you’re starting out you want to work with everyone,â Santoriello says. âBut by choosing a target market, you will be seen as the go-to expert in this area. “
Being recognized as an expert in your niche can make you more relevant and help you grow faster than working with anyone and everyone.
So if you haven’t decided on a niche yet, think carefully about who you want to help the most and how your skills or expertise allow you to do so.
For example, you might want to specialize in younger couples, entrepreneurs, or older retirees. Once you’ve identified a niche, lead generation can become easier since you know who you want to target.
Successful financial advisors value transparency and honesty
Customers don’t want to have to try to decipher your motivations through a smokescreen. Instead, they want advice that is straightforward and tailored to their situation.
This is where transparency and honesty come in.
âHonesty helps me be successful,â says McIntosh. “I have clients who want to travel the world, buy a second home or buy more land in retirement and I’ll tell them when I think they can’t do it.”
And, says McIntosh, if they have what it takes to make their dream retirement a reality, he tells them so too.
âEither way,â he says, âthey respect someone who doesn’t just tell them what they want to hear.
Telling a client that they cannot afford to buy a yacht and go around the world or buy a villa in France may not be a pleasant conversation to have. But it can open the door to honest discussions about achievable retirement goals.
Successful financial advisors are confident
If there’s one thing that’s virtually guaranteed to hinder your success as a consultant, it’s questioning yourself. After all, if you don’t trust yourself, how can you expect your customers to?
âIf you’ve done the job to learn your trade, you should take the time to be confident in your recommendations and solutions for clients,â says Medina.
Otherwise, you will have a hard time gaining their trust. And if you feel that there is a gap in your knowledge or expertise somewhere, try to fill it so that you are better able to serve your customers without doubting yourself.
The bottom line
Becoming a good financial advisor doesn’t have to happen overnight. There is a number of trial and error involved and everyone goes through a learning curve to some extent. Working on developing the characteristics of a successful advisor can translate into positive results for your business in the long run.
Advice on finding clients and developing your consulting business
Preselect prospects that match your customer profile. Consider using a service that can connect you directly with potential customers. If you’re looking to grow your practice, SmartAdvisor connects advisors directly with local prospects. You only pay for investors who match your client profile.
Expand your radius. Many financial advisors rarely look for prospects outside of a short drive from their home or office. But 60% of prospects who responded to a survey with SmartAsset said they were willing to work with a remote advisor. Consider broadening your search and working with investors who are comfortable with less frequent in-person meetings.
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The article How to Succeed as a Financial Advisor first appeared on the SmartAsset blog.