Why Being a Good Advisor Is No Longer Enough to Succeed
Few industries have become as commoditized as the financial services industry. It’s become more and more common to see a personal touch replaced by ‘cookie-cutter’ automated solutions.
On the bright side it’s clear that technology cannot replace the service of a really great financial advisor. Clients still crave advice that’s customized. They need the services of an advisor who can look at the ‘big picture’ and understand the complexities of their lives in terms of their aspirations, family and careers.
If you want to succeed you need to be more than ‘good enough’. You need to prove you are prepared to go that extra mile and provide a service that’s above and beyond your clients’ expectations.
How do you get to become an Elite rather than a “good” Advisor?
There’s no mystery here. To succeed in this highly competitive industry you need to put in the hard work and develop a work ethic that’s second to none. Don’t, like many advisors, get distracted. Focus on your goals. Develop outstanding soft skills and provide your clients with a level of personalized service they can never get from a robo-advisor.
Outwork everyone around you. Even the most unlikely advisors can achieve success – innate talent and luck have nothing to do with it. You need to earn your success.
The reason so few advisors get to the top is because getting there is demanding and it takes patience and time. Most give up. They stop developing their skills and they stop improving. They conclude that they don’t have what it takes. If you don’t give up but stay motivated instead, and continue to seek improvement, you will achieve the success you deserve.
Delegate and dedicate yourself to what’s important
You can’t delegate prospecting, but you can delegate other tasks. Delegate whenever and wherever possible.
Devote yourself to getting in front of clients and prospective clients since this is the one thing that will determine whether your business will grow. Plan the day and follow the plan. Jettison activities that don’t contribute to your success. Many advisors spend an endless amount of time ‘preparing’ to meet with prospects – don’t be like them! Make prospecting a priority and aim at meeting with a lot of prospects and clients.
Don’t drift along – set concrete goals.
Goals offer a concrete way of measuring progress. But be different from most advisors who simply make vague statements regarding their desires. Make goals measurable and achievable.
Practice your soft skills
Develop good verbal skills and learn how to build relationships with people. Clients want more than a return on investment. They want an ongoing relationship with a trusted advisor and confidant. Only if they like and trust you, will they be happy to have you at the helm.
Provide outstanding service
Always remember what business you are in. You’re not in the business of stocks and bonds. You’re in the business of providing people with peace of mind. That’s what you are selling. That’s what people want. Call clients even when you don’t need to. Exceed their expectations.
Have a right-brain focus
Don’t depend on the numbers. You want clients trusting you, not some chart. Instead develop your soft or subjective thinking. Clients make emotional decisions so you need to develop ways of connecting with these right brain needs.
Algorithms cannot replace this ability so be intuitive, focus on relationships, and listen to your clients. Talk about their fears and concerns or even their kid’s recent graduation. Ask emotionally based questions like “where do you want to see yourself in 10 years’ time?” Create pictures in their mind. Find out how they feel rather than hand them ‘risk-tolerance’ questionnaires.
The secret of Elite Advisors is that they know where they want to be and they are keen to understand the behavior of others. They have commitment and focus, and possess a superior work ethic. Greatness is available for anyone who goes that extra mile.
To become better than ‘good’ you need time, patience and practice. So make that extra call, get that one more referral, go that extra mile, be that bit better than everyone else.
Most of all, work on your soft skills. Clients want sound advice from someone who cares – and this is something that cannot be commoditized.