Five Skills That Will Make You Stand Apart from The Crowd
Hard skills can be learned from a book. They’re the skills most of us spent 16 years in school focusing on. In contrast, there’s no clear path to learning soft skills. Soft skills have to be learnt ‘on the job’ via experience and with trial and error.
Soft skills are at the very heart of what it is to be a great financial advisor. They are the skills that will mark you out from the crowd. So make sure you excel at soft skills by putting in a lot of practice. And persevere.
Here are five skills you need to stand apart from the crowd.
#1. Following up
This is an essential skill. Referrals start with improved client service and this starts with following up. To get referrals and get known for providing great service always do what you say you will do. If you don’t get back to clients, they will deem you unreliable. This will cause irreparable damage to your relationship and they will go elsewhere. Stay in touch with your clients – not just to give them updates but to touch base – this personal touch will be appreciated.
Make following up a part of your repeatable process when you’re prospecting too. Following up that promising initial meeting or phone call is not being pushy – it’s being professional and attentive. And leaving a voicemail doesn’t count, always make the extra effort to speak directly to people.
#2. Getting used to prospecting
Prospecting is your insurance. Unless you are constantly on the lookout for new clients you are putting your business in danger. So whether you choose to prospect on the telephone or face-to-face, it’s something you can’t avoid or delegate. Not prospecting is actually a fear of success, it’s a way of succumbing to mediocrity and is a form of self-sabotage that will hold you back from achieving your goals.
Instead of procrastinating, visualize your success and go about prospecting in a positive way. Get comfortable approaching people – as an exercise to help you, start conversations with complete strangers every day. Ask them open-ended questions, exude confidence and people will warm to you.
#3. No longer fearing rejection
It’s natural to fear rejection – to fear not being good enough or not being likeable enough. However, to succeed as a financial advisor you need to realize that rejection is an occupational hazard. Distance yourself from the task of prospecting and become more objective. When someone says ‘no’ understand that it’s not you personally that’s being rejected, it’s your idea.
Confront your fears and keep a balanced outlook. Understand that one bad day doesn’t mean you’ve failed so keep a positive outlook. Rejection also gives you a chance to consider whether there’s anything you could be doing better. If there is, then practice your skills so you don’t get rejected next time.
#4. Knowing how to face down objections
To convert prospects into clients you need to overcome their objections. This means you must develop your ability to anticipate, overcome and even avoid getting those objections in the first place.
This involves you getting to the bottom of how your clients really feel. It involves building rapport, trust and communication. Most of us have the same types of fears and it’s usually a fear of the unknown that prevents people from acting.
To ally these fears stress to clients that opening an account is the right thing to do. Turn their objections into questions you can answer. Don’t let their fears become the elephant in the room. Let them know you understand their concerns by being the first to bring them up. Make statements to the effect “I understand that fees are important to you”. Then turn this around. Impress upon clients that their fees won’t make a lot of difference to your life – but taking your financial advice will change theirs forever.
#5. Having a repeatable process
We all want to see results right away. However, achieving success as a financial advisor requires patience, perseverance and continued use of repeatable processes. What you should aspire to is consistency rather than perfection.
Become uber-organized and hone your skills so that they never let you down. Devise steps and techniques you can use each and every time you prospect and practice them repeatedly. Search out role models and mentors to help you achieve best practices. Start right away and success will eventually come your way.
Achieving success as a financial advisor is about developing yourself professionally and personally. Having sound product knowledge is expected as standard, but if you want to stand out from the crowd you need a full package of hard and soft skills. My “Tools of the Trade” library can help you with just that. Watch the video below to learn more.
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