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.

Financial Advisors and Social Distancing: How to Keep Prospecting and Servicing Clients

Financial Advisors and Social Distancing - How to Keep Prospecting and Servicing Clients

Traditionally, being a financial advisor has been a face-to-face business. We are creatures of the working lunch, the handshake, the coffee meeting. Appointments are the lifeblood of our business, because we’re in the business of personal relationships. That’s our real advantage over the low-cost robo-advisors, and a big part of how we justify our fees.

But social distancing is changing all that in a flash. I’m optimistic about the economy and the stock market long-term. But this bug isn’t going away anytime soon. We are undergoing a rapid cultural shift where social distance may very well become the norm for a good, long while.

And all of us old-school financial advisors, as well as brokers, planners, insurance agents, all of us, are going to have to adjust.

I’ve talked with a lot of people, and I’ve seen a lot of economic cycles. Here’s what I suggest you do to keep growing your business even with social distancing.

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11 Must-Have First-Year Financial Advisor Goals

11 Must-Have First-Year Financial Advisor Goals

It’s tough making it through your first year in the financial advisor business. It’s going to be even tougher without some specific goals to give you focus. If you set goals though, you’ll have some framework for deciding how to manage your time and money.

Your first=year financial advisor goals should be as specific as possible – so you know when you’ve achieved them. And write them down: People who write down their goals are 33% more successful at attaining them than people who keep their goals in their heads.

Here are some of the most important objectives for your first year as a financial advisor.

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Coronavirus: An Opportunity for Financial Advisors to Strengthen Client Relationships

Coronavirus - An Opportunity for Financial Advisors to Strengthen Client Relationships

As I write this after the market close on March 9th, 2020, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 1,800 points on the day, for a loss of 7.8%. The S&P 500 is down by 7.6% – the worst single day on for U.S. equities since the 2008 crisis.

This Monday loss follows some significant volatility late last week that already had a lot of investors on edge.

No doubt, most of you advisors out there are receiving some nervous calls and emails from your clients, wondering what’s going on.

This is where great advisors can earn their money. As a matter of fact, you as financial advisors may well not have as great an opportunity to add value for your clients for a very long time as you do today.

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How Much Do Financial Advisors Make?

How Much Do Financial Advisors Make

The simple answer is easy: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, personal financial advisors, on average, made $121,770 in 2018. Translated into an hourly figure, the typical financial advisor made $58.54 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week.

That’s a mean average, though, which is skewed significantly higher by a few highly successful advisors at the top of the profession. The median average is much lower: $88,890 per year in 2018, or – again assuming a 40-hour work week — $42.73 per hour. “Median” means half the advisors surveyed earned more than that figure, in that year, and half of them made less.

The lowest 10% nationwide made $41,590, or $19.99 per hour – assuming a 40-hour work week. The top quartile of the profession earned $157,710.

But few of them became that successful by working a mere 40-hour work week in their early years!

Here are a few factors to consider to maximize your earning potential.

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Good “Who I Am” Story

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Good “Who I Am” Story

Human beings are storytellers. We tell stories because we respond to stories. It’s been so since the dawn of history.

In western civilization, we have received many of our great stories, myths, legends and cultural archetypes from stories memorized and passed down from generation to generation around campfires, dating back to pre-literate times.

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Deal with Objections Before They Become Mindsets

Deal with Objections Before They Become Mindsets

Most salespeople in any industry quickly become proficient at handling objections after the client or prospect brings them up. And that’s a good skill to have. But if you’re constantly dealing with the same objections at the end of your initial presentation, you’re already at a disadvantage – and very likely you’ve lost the chance to win the client.

If you’ve gone for the close and asked for the order, and the prospective client is still raising objections, the battle is on. It’s a signal that the prospect’s mental shields are up. In fact, you may not even be seriously in the fight anymore. This is the case when the objection the person is giving you is not the real objection.

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Don’t Let Your Niche Get Too Narrow

Don’t Let Your Niche Get Too Narrow

Having a tightly defined niche as a Financial Advisor is important. A research by CEG Worldwide confirms it – six out of ten advisors they surveyed said that focusing on a niche has been “tremendously or very positive” in helping them attract affluent clients. Only three percent said that focusing on a niche had had a “negative impact.”

So if focusing on a niche is so good, why are any advisors having a negative experience with it?

In many cases, it’s likely that these planners have fallen into a common trap: Their focus is too narrow.

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4 Steps to Avoid the Commoditization Trap (And Justify Your Fees)

4 Steps to Avoid the Commoditization Trap (And Justify Your Fees)

Water is water, right? Everybody selling water is in the business of selling H2O. If anything was a hopeless case for commoditization and price collapse, it should be bottled water. Most cities in America can now deliver very clean, safe water right to the tap – at 0.0025 per gallon.

But bottled water companies like Waikea, Fiji, Aquafina and Desani have been tremendously successful in branding their products, affiliating themselves with target markets, associating themselves with positive lifestyles, creating a positive customer experience, and getting a premium price. Customers pay between 400 and 4,400 times more for bottled water than they do for tap water, and the premium water market continues to grow.

Financial advisors face a similar dynamic.

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How to Choose Your Specialty as a Financial Advisor

How to Choose Your Specialty as a Financial Advisor

The financial services market is becoming more complex and more complex every day. Everybody needs a focus. And those with focused practices are better able to serve their clients. None of us can be all things to all people so it’s important to specialize in the kind of advice you give.

But do you know how to choose your specialty as a Financial Advisor?

There are two key considerations – both equally important: Your market, and your passions.

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The Importance of Why when Soliciting Referrals

Don Connelly audio featured image

When you ask clients for referrals, and hopefully clients are going to solicit referrals for you, you really have to get them to focus on why they do business with you. I think it’s important to tell people what you do and how you do it, but why they’re doing business with you is the most important part of any referral.

Listen to this audio episode or read the transcript to learn the importance of why when it comes to growing your business as a Financial Advisor.

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