Don A. Connelly is a speaker, motivator and educator for financial advisors. During a career of more than 40 years on Wall Street, he worked for nearly 19 years as company spokesperson, senior vice president and senior marketing officer for Putnam Investments, in addition to holding positions as a stock broker, financial planner, branch manager, wholesaler and national sales manager. As founder and CEO of Don Connelly 24/7, he provides timely and provocative sales ideas to thousands of financial professionals, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Perils of Lacking Empathy: Why It Matters for Financial Advisors

The Perils of Lacking Empathy - Why It Matters for Financial Advisors

Nothing can form a human connection quite like the genuine expression of empathy. That human connection, which is the basis of trust in a relationship, is what clients want from their advisors. Failure to make that connection quickly can drive clients into the arms of a more empathic advisor.

Why empathy is so powerful

Empathy is the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes, understand their emotions, and connect with them on a deeper level. But to your clients, it’s much more than that. When you express genuine empathy with a client, they feel like they are the most important person in your life at that moment. You took the time to step inside their shoes, walk around, and make them feel understood without judging them.

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7 Common Mistakes Financial Advisors Make that Repel Clients

7 Common Mistakes Financial Advisors Make that Repel Clients

To be successful, financial advisors must work tirelessly to master their craft while putting in countless hours to build their business. Some have an easier time of it than others because they avoid the many missteps that can drive prospects and clients away. Even the most well-intentioned advisors can sometimes engage in behaviors that unintentionally repel potential and existing clients, creating an enduring uphill battle to grow their practice.

You spend a lot of time and resources to gain a foothold in this business. But if you’re not aware of the crucial mistakes many advisors make in trying to build relationships, you are less likely to avoid them yourself, making your job much more difficult—maybe even impossible. Here are seven common missteps many advisors make that you must avoid to have any chance of success.

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How Financial Advisors Can Be the Leader Their Clients Want

How Financial Advisors Can Be the Leader Their Clients Want

In today’s complex financial landscape, being knowledgeable and able to connect with people is not enough. Clients expect more from you as their financial advisor. They expect you to lead them to financial security. Individuals seek financial advice because they lack the knowledge and expertise to navigate their financial futures effectively. But they are not inclined to follow just any advisor—only those who can unequivocally inspire trust and confidence. Why bother with anyone else?

Advisors must work each day to demonstrate leadership qualities that inspire trust, confidence, and informed decision-making. Here are the critical areas advisors should focus on to become leaders in the eyes of their clients:

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The Halo of Ringlets

Don Connelly audio podcast

I hope by now you’ve done a business plan. A business plan is how you’re going to hit your goals. You’re driving from Bangor, Maine to San Diego, you’re going to pass mile markers along the way. Those are your goals.

Inside your business plan has to be your marketing plan. It’s not enough to go in the morning and hunt, kill and eat.

Listen to this audio podcast or read the transcript below to hear the ‘halo of ringlets’ analogy and an idea on narrowing down and attracting your target market or markets.

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‘Why Should I Do Business with You’: Crafting a Compelling Response to a Prospect’s Critical Question

Why Should I Do Business with You - Crafting a Compelling Response to a Prospect's Critical Question

For every financial advisor, the question, “Why should I do business with you?” hangs heavy in the air during initial consultations, whether spoken or not. It’s a pivotal moment, a crossroads where trust and value must intersect to convince the potential client to take the next step. While tempting to launch into a self-promotional monologue, a nuanced, client-centric approach is critical to unlocking that coveted “yes.”

It’s crucial to understand that a prepared, cookie-cutter approach, such as reciting your value proposition, won’t work. Every prospect is unique, so it’s essential to adapt your approach based on their specific circumstances and needs using the following framework:

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How to Educate Clients About the Importance of Investing Beyond Their 401(k)

How to Educate Clients About the Importance of Investing Beyond Their 401(k)

For most people, there’s little to think about when it comes to making contributions to their 401k plans. They enjoy reduced current taxes, deferred taxes on account earnings, and, for most, a matching contribution from their employer. That’s a huge incentive to contribute as much of their earnings as possible—up to $23,000 in 2024, and those over 50 can add $7,000 in annual catch-up contributions.

But is maxing out 401k contributions really the best retirement savings strategy for your clients?

While deferred taxation in a 401k is great for capital accumulation, they will owe ordinary income taxes on their withdrawals, impacting their cash flow in a critical life stage. Many retirees are shocked by the amount of taxes they owe on their retirement income.

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Should FAs Allow Clients’ Political Opinions to Influence Their Investment Decisions?

Should FAs Allow Client's Political Opinions to Influence their Investment Decisions?

Here we are again—another presidential election year. If it’s like the last couple of elections, financial advisors are sure to see some clients wringing their hands over which candidate will win the White House and how that will impact the financial markets and their investments. At the very least, you’re likely to get an earful of some clients’ political viewpoints—which is fine if they don’t try to correlate them with how they should invest their money.

For decades, investors have tried to find some correlation between elections and investment performance, hoping it will foretell how a particular outcome will impact their portfolio so they can adjust their investment strategy appropriately.

Of course, if you search far enough, you might be able to uncover data that supports such a link. But you’re not going to find any that decisively shows a causal relationship or enough of one to warrant serious consideration for changing investment strategies based on election results. Still, some clients have such strong political views that they see a connection in all aspects of their lives, including how they invest their money.

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To Ensure Success, Financial Advisors Must Fight Through Mental Roadblocks and Self-Doubt

To Ensure Success, Financial Advisors Must Fight Through Mental Roadblocks and Self-Doubt

Being a financial advisor can be an enriching career with both monetary and personal fulfillment. The price for such success is years of hard work, sacrifice, and overcoming extended bouts of mental roadblocks and self-doubt that can shatter one’s self-confidence and potentially derail a career.

These mental hurdles can manifest in various ways but are almost always a result of intentional or unintentional behavior that hinders your own success or well-being—in other words, self-sabotage. It’s like consciously or unconsciously throwing a wrench in your own engine by the actions you take, such as procrastination, negative self-talk, perfectionism, quitting tasks prematurely, and avoiding challenges.

It can also transpire through unhealthy mindsets such as fear of failure, fear of success, low self-esteem, imposter syndrome, lack of confidence, and limiting beliefs.

Few careers are as demanding as being a financial advisor, which makes it imperative to avoid doing things that can make it more difficult. All these actions and mindsets are avoidable, but it takes a conscious effort to weed them out, using “emotional self-regulation” – a process of monitoring, evaluating, and modifying your behavior. Here’s how it works:

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What Is an Initial Benefit Statement and How to Use It

What Is an Initial Benefit Statement and How to Use It

As I have mentioned already on the Don Connelly 24/7 learning center, I was taught a method of selling called Professional Selling Skills (PSS) many years ago. It was and still is the bestselling course in the world. Let’s talk about the first step in giving a Professional Selling Skills presentation. That step is called the Initial Benefit Statement.

Watch this video episode or read the transcript below to hear Don explaining what it is and how to use it.

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Getting SMART About Setting Goals for You and Your Clients

Getting SMART About Setting Goals for You and Your Clients

Anyone who has ever accomplished anything of significance started with a goal. Professional athletes, entertainers, business titans, and the millionaire next door will all tell you that they began with the end in mind, visualizing their destination and then mapping the road to get there.

We’ve written about the importance of goal setting and the significance of writing them down and keeping them in front of you to remind you of what’s possible. However, the process of goal setting is often marred with unrealistic expectations or ambivalence about what you want to achieve, resulting in unachievable or unmeasurable goals.

Financial advisors on the path to success can’t afford to wallow in hopes or pipe dreams. You need clearly defined, actionable goals that reflect your professional and personal ambitions. Although goal setting isn’t rocket science, it does require a deliberate process to ensure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. In other words, it requires the SMART goal-setting framework.

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