Five Actionable Ways You Can Stand Apart from The Crowd
If you want to succeed as a financial advisor, you need to achieve a competitive advantage. There needs to be something about you that highlights you not superior to other advisors but different. You need to possess a ‘certain something’ that makes people want to do business with you.
Dare to be different
To the outside world all financial advisors tend to look the same: We offer similar solutions, we speak the same language and appear to get similar results. To an outsider, Merrill Lynch looks pretty much like UBS. As financial advisors we also have essentially the same resources or tools to work with. Plus, our fee structures are more or less similar across the board.
Given the level of commoditization within the industry it’s crucial to find ways to be different and get noticed. You need to differentiate yourself so you don’t just stand out ‘in’ the crowd but stand ‘apart’ from it. Here are five ways to do that.
1. Soft skills are the key to standing apart from the crowd.
Being different is all about service, conversation, likeability and passion. Granted, having good product knowledge is an essential hard skill. But if you really want to escape the crowd you need to be more likeable and trustworthy than everyone else.
When people buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks they’re not buying the coffee – they’re buying the whole package, the brand, the ‘personality’. That’s what makes Starbucks coffee stand apart from other types of coffee. In the same way you need to become the full package – of both hard and ‘soft’ skills.
Equip yourself with superior soft skills. For example, become a great listener. Learn to listen to your clients’ concerns and objections. Give them a chance to talk. If you do, the more they will like you, and the greater the chances of them wanting to do business with you.
2. Have repeatable processes in place
Having a repeatable process will get you predictable results. Remember, you’re not seeking perfection – you are aiming for consistency. Don’t let anything prevent you from prospecting every day, whether it be phone calls, due diligence, portfolio rebalancing or staff management. Have processes in place to pull you back so you continue to concentrate on the important things.
Have repeatable prospecting processes and follow ups. Perpetuate your client relationships through repetition. Devise steps you can do over and over, ways of becoming so consistent that it’s effortless. Start today. Get into a rhythm, hone your instincts, and gain momentum by using failsafe processes. Position yourself apart from your competitors with your determination and professionalism.
3. Keep calm and carry on
If you can radiate serenity in a chaotic marketplace people will notice and seek you out. Take the complexities out of life. Devise ways to achieve predictable results and take control. Do not, like many others, emanate a sense of quiet desperation when markets fail. When people visit you, be a beacon of anti-stress. Make a visit to your office a pleasure, not a stressful experience.
4. Accept setbacks
Accept setbacks and don’t be discouraged by rejection. Just keep going and you will be rewarded. It’s hard to keep going when you’re not getting immediate results, but success is a long haul journey. Don’t lose sight of your vision, stay motivated. There are times when you will be working long days for no immediate return, so you need to learn self-motivation. Choose never to be negative. Make goals achievable but just out of reach. Stay focused on the big picture.
5. Believe in yourself
Be proud of what you do. Have a positive attitude and a strong sense of self-conviction. Remember you are a very important member of the community and key to your clients’ financial futures. Because of you a couple can retire and not stress about money. Because of you, kids can go to college and not borrow money. If you’re convinced you are the best person to take on this commitment your clients will too.
Successful people do what unsuccessful people don’t or won’t do. Be the only one doing what you do, be totally different.