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.

For Financial Advisors, the Road to Success Begins with Solid Prospecting Habits

For Financial Advisors, the Road to Success Begins with Solid Prospecting Habits

For financial advisors, there’s nothing like the thrill of signing a new client. But it doesn’t take very long in the business to realize that, without prospecting, those thrills can be few and far between. While signing new clients is the opportunity all advisors relish, they must first create those opportunities, which can only be done through continuous prospecting.

Most advisors consider prospecting to be the most challenging aspect of their work. The challenge for many is doing it consistently and effectively enough to produce sufficient opportunities. For some advisors, prospecting is an afterthought, only becoming necessary when their pipeline dries up. But with the typical lead-to-prospect conversion process lasting as many as six months, that could mean weeks or months before signing a new client.

Successful advisors know that the key to sustainable growth is a constantly replenished pipeline through persistent prospecting. The only way that happens is by building solid prospecting habits.

Here are the essential success habits advisors must develop to become effective and consistent prospectors.

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The Four Success Habits of Highly Successful Advisors

The Four Success Habits of Highly Successful Advisors

It has been said that habits determine 95% of a person’s behavior and are the most important determinant of the type of person you will become. That can be frighteningly ominous for financial advisors who spend little time focused on developing successful habits.

As financial advisors, we’re all searching for the secret to success—finding that edge that can move us effortlessly toward our ambitions. The challenge for many is that it is human nature to look for shortcuts in the pursuit of success.

However, in reality, it’s those who are able to find the motivation to develop successful habits that separate the ordinary from the exceptional—finding the will to take deliberate daily action consistently in pursuit of their goals. Successful advisors will tell you that it’s the practices we develop and master in their daily lives that empower them and propel them to their fullest potential for producing at an elite level.

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Financial Advisors Sabotage Their Success Through Getting Ready to Get Ready

Financial Advisors Sabotage Their Success Through Getting Ready to Get Ready

I’ve seen it dozens of times. Financial advisors sitting at their desks, looking busy, immersed in their work, shuffling papers, searching the internet, and reading reports. Sometimes it seems to go on for hours, even days, leaving me to wonder what they’re working towards. But one look at their production records tells the tale. There is a strong likelihood they’re working on getting ready to get ready to do what they know must be done but can’t seem to pull the trigger to get it done.

I’ve come across many advisors who consider themselves “perfectionists,” the type of people who feel the need to ensure everything is in order before attempting the task at hand, be it making calls to prospects, dealing with an irate client, or making a critical presentation to a wavering prospect. As we all know, “perfect is the enemy of the good,” which is good enough for most people.

If we wait until everything is ready before starting a task, we’ll probably never get started. Consider the analogy of a person starting their car and waiting in their driveway for all the lights on their route to turn green. They’ll probably never leave their driveway. Maybe that’s the point.

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To Win More Prospects, Show Them You Are the Goals-centric Advisor Clients Want

To Win More Prospects, Show Them You Are the Goals-centric Advisor Clients Want

As a financial advisor, you have one job and one job only—to help your clients achieve their financial goals. At least, that’s how your clients see it. That’s according to a research study by Morningstar, which revealed what clients value most in an advisor. Advisors would be well-served to keep that in mind in their efforts to win over more prospects.

Next on the list of what clients value most from an advisor is “skills and knowledge,” followed by “maximizing returns.” Unquestionably those are essential attributes. However, the study indicates that prospects may put less weight on them if you fail to check off the one they deem most important—helping them to achieve their goals.

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Advisors Who Don’t Want to Sound “Salesy” Need to Master Soft Skills

Advisors Who Don't Want to Sound Salesy Need to Master Soft Skills

Many financial advisors don’t like to be thought of as salespeople. In fact, they despise it. In part because they work hard at earning the distinction of being an “advisor.” Also, the public has been conditioned to avoid salespeople masquerading as financial advisors. But in reality, anyone in the business of building a clientele and offering services has to be able to sell.

To convert prospects into clients, advisors must sell themselves and then their solution. To make money, they must get their prospects and clients to act on their solution, which requires sales skills. Most advisors understand that, but their greatest fear is coming across as a salesperson or sounding too “salesy.”

If that is your fear, let me put your mind at ease. First, it’s important to understand what it means to be “salesy.” That term is generally applied to a high-pressure approach that makes prospects uncomfortable. People don’t want to deal with salespeople who are pushy and don’t listen to them.

That’s not you.

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How to Motivate Your Prospects to Take Action Now

How to Motivate Your Prospects to Take Action Now

No doubt you remember the last car you purchased. If you’re like most people, you spent hours, days, maybe months researching, comparing prices, features and specs. You knew what you wanted but were hesitant to pull the trigger. Ultimately, it wasn’t the gas mileage, sporty interior, or five-year bumper-to-bumper manufacturer’s warranty that moved you to action.

While those are nice features and may be important to you, they’re not the reason you bought the car. The reason you acted was how those features made you feel. They made you feel smart, secure, and proud. You may even feel like a million bucks. The smile on your face as you drove your new car home was not from having made a good decision based on the car’s features; it was from how your decision made you feel.

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How to Get More Unsolicited Referrals from Clients

How to Get More Unsolicited Referrals from Clients

Ask any successful advisor what the key to their success is, and they’ll tell you—referrals. You can’t grow a profitable practice without a steady stream of referrals. When you ask for and receive a referral, it’s an indication that you impressed your client enough to act on your request. But what if you didn’t have to ask for referrals? What if your clients were so impressed with you that they took the time to share their experience with someone without you having to ask?

You know what that feels like if it’s happened to you. But, for many advisors, it happens so rarely that it’s a major shock when it does. So, how do you make it happen consistently enough to make it an expectation?

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How to Raise Conversations Your Clients Don’t Know They Should Have

How to Raise Conversations Your Clients Don’t Know They Should Have

Most clients hire a financial advisor because they expect him or her to know more than they do about planning their future. They willingly pay you to leverage your expertise to educate them and guide their financial decisions based on your understanding of their circumstances, goals, and concerns. They expect you to help them navigate obstacles that pop up unexpectedly.

Most clients don’t know what they don’t know, which is their greatest vulnerability. That means they don’t know enough to ask their financial advisor about things that could potentially impact them. If they’re left in the dark about such things, the financial advisor takes the blame when bad things happen. What is their defense when a client asks, “Why didn’t you tell me about that?”

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For Clients Expecting 5-Star Service, Exceptional Communications Is Not Enough—Proactive Communication Is the New Standard

For Clients Expecting 5-Star Service, Proactive Communication Is the New Standard

Top financial advisors understand that superior client communications are paramount to building a successful practice. That is supported by a widely published survey by Financial Advisor Magazine, revealing that 72% of clients cite poor client communications as the number one reason they leave their financial advisor.

If 72% of clients expect exceptional client communications as a condition for staying with an advisor, it’s no longer a differentiator—it’s merely table stakes for advisors who hope to compete for their business. So how can financial advisors who do focus on elevating the client communications game stand out to clients with higher expectations of what five-star service should look like?

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3 Ways to Boost the Promotional Power of a Marketing Resume

3 Ways to Boost the Promotional Power of a Marketing Resume

A marketing resume can be a very potent tool because it can be used in unlimited number circumstances—at networking events, canvassing businesses, social events, speaking events, or anywhere you would normally hand out business cards. But you must be thoughtful about who exactly should receive your marketing resume. If your value proposition is too broad (trying to be everything to everybody) it may not resonate with anyone because it doesn’t differentiate you.

Here are three tips on how to get the most promotional power out of your marketing resume.

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