Becoming a Financial Advisor Is Not All About Getting Licensed
Naturally, you need to be sufficiently educated and qualified if you are to do the job of a financial advisor. But that’s not nearly enough. Financial advisors require a unique skill set that consists of not only technical knowledge and business skills but also excellent interpersonal ‘soft’ skills.
Many advisors enter the industry mistakenly believing the former skills are more important than the latter. That’s why so many advisors leave the trade in their first year – because they weren’t able to cut through the noise and attract enough clients.
Soft skills are essential for financial advisors
To succeed in this industry, you need to get along with people. Your degree and qualifications are worth nothing without the accompanying soft skills. Your training and knowledge are solid foundations for your career, but your success will be down to two things: whether people like you and trust you. Unless you learn how to forge emotional connections, people will remain unconvinced you can do anything to help them.
You can learn soft skills
In the first meeting prospects use a range of judgements when they’re deciding whether or not to believe an advisor is suitable for them. Your appearance, eye contact and body language will be factored in, and they’ll also be checking whether you seem confident and authentic. In order to tick all their boxes, you need to be armed with great soft skills.
A few lucky entrants to the industry already possess good soft skills, finding it easy to develop rapid rapport with prospects. More often though this isn’t the case, and new advisors lack confidence berating their lack of ‘natural charm’ when it comes to establishing new relationships with clients.
The good news is that you don’t have to be naturally blessed with charisma. Essential soft skills, even ‘charm’ can be developed and fine-tuned. And, with the relevant skills at your command your confidence will increase, and good relationships will establish more frequently.
Here are a few soft skills you can start to work on.
You need to have the ability to listen to your prospects and clients so that you really ‘hear’ what they are communicating. Otherwise you won’t understand their fears, goals and motivations. Good listening can also involve you in interpreting or looking behind the words to see the true meaning or subtext of what is being said. Remember, hearing is not the same as listening. Hearing is passive. Listening is active.
The relationship between a financial advisor and client is a two-way street. You are not there to dictate to them; you are there to put yourself in your client’s shoes and demonstrate that you are onboard with their goals. They need to see that you are inherently trustworthy and that you care about them as people, not just about their money.
Your job is to be able to persuade people to take action and educate clients about the reasons to take financial advice and stay invested. You need to have the ability to change a client’s thinking and prevent them from taking detrimental action. You need to be able to communicate your value and act as a coach if you are to make positive changes to your clients’ lives.
Start with your ‘who I am’ story. In the first meeting with prospects they’ll be sizing you up as a human being rather than assessing your attitude toward volatility. Let prospects tell you their story then tell them yours. Keep your story short and simple. Once you’ve told your ‘who I am’ story you’ll soon see whether prospects have warmed to you and if they feel there is good reason to take things further.
Financial advisors fail more often because of poor communication than because of poor performance. It’s emotional intelligence rather than IQ that will ensure your success. To survive you need to get good at the fundamentals. Identify and improve the soft skills you lack and practice them every day.
In this internet-based world it’s too easy to forget the importance of face-to-face communication. But people still need personal reassurance about their financial affairs. So, give yourself a head-start on the competition by developing superior soft skills. Empower yourself, persevere and you can and will succeed.
Watch this 3-minute video to learn how our workshop ‘Become the Obvious Choice’ can help you develop and hone the soft skills needed to succeed!
Call 941.346.1166 for discount pricing for multiple Advisors attending from the same branch. Need more info before committing? See event details here.