9 Things Successful Financial Advisors Do Differently

Financial Advisors Tip - Be PassionateEveryone can be successful; the bigger question is who is willing to do what it takes to become successful?

Average Advisors often procrastinate and find excuses for their inaction. Top performing Financial Advisors roll up their sleeves and just do what they have to do to succeed. It’s that straightforward.

► See what Elite Advisors do that average Advisors don’t do.

Here are 9 things that ordinary Advisors do extraordinarily well to become top producers in the industry:

1. Passion. Vision. Focus.

The best Financial Advisors have 3 traits in common:

  • They simply love doing what they do for a living.
  • They have a clear vision of where they see themselves, their teams and their clients.
  • They stick to the plan and focus on what exactly needs to be done to achieve their vision and goals.

Like it or not, there’s no shortcut, no hack for any of the above. If you don’t like your work, you will never be able to give it your best. It’s better to get out of it and figure out what is your long term interest.

Passion fuels vision and vision fuels focus.

Top Financial Advisors have great passion for what they do.  Quoting Mark Anthony’s words of wisdom:

If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

They are effective leaders who thoughtfully visualize and plan for the growth in every aspect of their business.

They know their ideal client profiles. They set realistic goals. They have a clear plan on how to up their numbers. They set appropriate metrics to track their progress.

And finally, they work really very hard and stay highly focused on their plan. Their prioritization of newer ideas is done after carefully assessing how those will help in expediting their progress towards their long term vision.

2. Successful Financial Advisors tell stories.

“Top Advisors succeed because they weave narrative among the facts and it is the narrative which appeals to the client’s emotions.” – Don Connelly

It’s true! Decisions are emotional. Financial pros that succeed do so by mastering the art of telling simple stories that tap into their clients’ “emotional space”.

I came across one of the older posts by Marie Swift at Financial Planning Blog on the importance of storytelling for Advisors  and I strongly recommend everyone should read the entire story.

In her story, there were two key points made by John Bowen of CEG Worldwide and Bo Eason, NFL player turned speaker, which I’d like to highlight:

“This is the age of storytellers.  We live in a dream society and those who capture the attention and hearts of their audience have immense power to lead and influence.” – Eason

 “Most financial advisors are very logical and left-brain dominant, but 84% of affluent investors are right-brain dominant, which means they want to connect emotionally first and then justify their decision to work with you with logic.” – John

The takeaway is simple: Stories are an Advisor’s best friend.

To hone your storytelling skills, get Don Connelly’s 2-CD set, Say It So It Makes a Difference, or join Don Connelly 24/7 – it has a podcasts section dedicated to improving your storytelling skills. See the intro video here.

3. Successful Advisors ask the right questions.

Top producers in this industry have gotten beyond the standard interview questions. They ask thought provoking, open-minded questions.

Don’t take my word for it. If you would agree that top producers are also great sales persons (see #7 below), then you must check out James Cornehlson’s post Don’t Sing To Your Clients Out of Tune. James Cornehlson is a Sales coach for Financial Advisors at AUM in a Box and in this post he has clearly explained the importance of asking the right questions. Here’s a snippet from his blog: 

Asking good questions establishes credibility and enables you to be in control. And most importantly, for the more analytical folks, it takes you from being the typical salesperson to being a consultant, where you are able to provide value to the client. With a prospect in front of you, you want to create a hierarchy of questions in order to dig deeper and truly understand where they are at. As a salesperson, you need to build up to your level of understanding.

Successful Financial Advisors Are Persistent4. Top performing Advisors are persistent.

Whether it’s prospecting, sales, networking or building stronger client relations, successful financial advisors are “Persistent” in every effort.

They make up their mind in advance to achieve written goals and then never stop working toward them. No matter how bleak the chances of success seem to be, they just don’t give up and never lose enthusiasm. In a recent post by Don Connelly on how persistence and perseverance matter to Financial Advisors, he observed –

“Greatness does not elude most people for intellectual reasons.

What we do as Financial Advisors takes brains, but the intellectual challenge is not overwhelming. What is overwhelming for most is the commitment.

It’s a difficult task becoming excellent and too few want to put in the hours. Persistence and patience are in short supply.”

5. Successful Financial Advisors listen!

The best people in the industry ask the right questions and most importantly, they LISTEN!

They talk WITH the clients, not AT the clients.

After interviewing some of the Top Advisors in the industry, Cyril Tuohy wrote a post about the secrets of successful client relations. One of his interviewees, Scott Mahoney, Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley, shared one of the best pieces of advice he got from his father who told him:

You have two ears and one mouth so you have to listen twice as much as you talk.

6. Successful Financial Advisors educate.

Clients hire Financial Advisors to simplify (and not complicate) things for them. Read Again!

The best advisors not only put financial houses in order, but they also impart investing wisdom to their clients by explaining to them what is being done and why.

They don’t use technical jargon and they help their clients become better, smarter investors.

Does this sound familiar to you?

If you need help with learning to listen and educating your clients, get Don Connelly and Brian Church’s joint Webinar Replay, Relationship Momentum for Advisors, or join Don Connelly 24/7 – it has a podcasts section dedicated to your relationship building and management skills. See the intro video here.

What Successful Financial Advisors Do Differently7. Top performing Advisors have sales, marketing and networking skills.

Successful Advisors spend the majority of their time in selling, marketing and networking with centers of influence, industry colleagues, clients and prospects. All top producers understand that business development is critical to their success. They understand and value the importance of creating long term relationships through effective communication.

Especially for those who shy away from the word ‘Sales’, I urge you to read this post by Mike Byrnes where 10 Top Advisors’ explain how they build sales without getting ‘salesy’. I am sure you will get a lot of ideas to successfully overcome the fear of sales.

8. Top Advisors make mistakes and learn from them.

If you think successful Advisors never made any mistakes, you are absolutely wrong!

To err is Human.

Victorious Advisors also make mistakes but here are two things that separate them from the rest:

  • They don’t dwell on failures but rather, move on.
  • They learn from their failings and try hard not to make the same mistake again.

9. Successful Advisors never stop learning.

Affluent financial professionals are avid and quick learners. Committed to personal and professional development, they start their day by reading what’s new. By following trustworthy resources, popular blogs and forums, they stay up-to-date with all matters related to financial services, products, processes, technology, stock markets etc. And most importantly, they practice and test new ideas to better understand the results.

Remember the famous saying by Confucius:

 “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Whether you are a startup Advisor, working with a financial service company or running your own advisory firm, your success totally depends on none other than you. You cannot blame or rely on others.

So, if you really want to succeed as a Financial Advisor, make up your mind NOW and make the first step!

Make the First Step Now

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2 comments

  • The Client.

    Sure, financial advisors (RIAs, CFP’s, CFAs, et cetera) have to genuinely love what they are doing (and yes, earn a decent living), but the bottom line is everything they do is for their clients benefit.

    Staying up-to-date on trends and laws, educating clients, going to industry conferences, learning, buying a new CRM system, the provider they use to custody client assets, weekly/monthly blogs (or weekly videos), newsletters, and on and on. Its not about the money (thats just a result of the advisors hard work) but the dedication to improve a clients financial present and future is numero uno.

    I love my local car wash-oil change establishment and been going to them for years. They treat every client like they own a Rolls Royce. Insane customer service. I brag about them to every car owner friend I have. Thats exactly where the financial advisor wants to be. The advisor has reached insane success when every client brags abut them to their friends.

    • Hey Marty,

      I JUST responded to your comment on Linked In. I am not sure which one would you check first , I guess Linked In, and as I’m typing here.. I can already see your tweet … 😉

      Needless to say (again), you’ve hit the nail on the head. Putting clients financial house in order is numero uno. And how much people drive satisfaction in referring professionals they admire should be inspiring enough to do what it takes to be more referable.

      Thanks a lot Marty for sharing such a great comment. Much appreciated!

      – KAS

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