When Starting as a Financial Advisor …
The financial services industry is incredibly competitive and the first few years can be especially gruelling for new advisors. When you first start out you won’t have many clients or a network to get you referrals but so long as you have a plan and stick with it, you will soon make an impact.
You are not going to become successful by accident
It’s virtually impossible to be successful without a plan. Most small businesses fail because they don’t take the time to plan and map the route to their goals. Imagine where you want to be – say in five years’ time – and work backwards.
Decide how much money you are going to earn and identify the ways in which you will achieve this goal. Create a SWOT analysis of your strengths, your weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats in the marketplace. Write down your goals, set timelines and be specific, always keeping in mind the core values of your business.
Create a marketing plan to sit inside the business plan. Identify your target markets and plan how you will approach them. Don’t roam the streets aimlessly – look at the specific needs of your particular niches and why it makes sense for you to work with them. Do feel comfortable being around a certain group of people e.g. accountants? Do you come across well to this group because of your experience or interests?
Write an “Ideal Client” profile
Once you’ve identified your target market, write your ‘ideal client’ profile. Include all the demographics, for example: Where would your ideal client? What’s his or her profession? What are their needs and goals? Do they have children? Be as detailed as you can but stick to just one page. This is an excellent marketing tool that you can hand out to get people’s attention and it acts as an icebreaker when meeting new potential clients.
Create a marketing resume, and include on it your value statement. Give people reasons for doing business with you. Add in plenty of personal information including your interests, family, whether you’re involved in charity work etc. This will give potential clients a way to get to know you and empathize with you as a person, not just as a qualified advisor. This is another often overlooked but great marketing tool that you should attach to every email you send and letter you post.
Book time to prospect
Make sure you block out structured time for prospecting. Never make it just something ‘you’ll get around to’ at some point in the day. Put these hours on a calendar.
You may not enjoy prospecting but you can’t run your business unless you open accounts and gather assets and that involves reaching out to new people. Make prospecting a habit. Tell everyone you meet in daily life what you do for a living. Clients will not come to you so you must seek them out.
Prospecting is one task you cannot delegate either. People need to know you personally if they are going to like and trust you and they will only do business with people they like and trust.
Take every opportunity to learn from others
Find a mentor because nothing teaches like experience. Get as much help as you can when you’re first starting out to help you clarify your plans, point out obstacles and provide you with resources to get you to the next level. This will dramatically accelerate the achievement of your goals.
Finally ask yourself ‘why?’ you decided to become a financial advisor.
Was it to help make a difference in people’s lives? Keep this reason at the forefront of your mind, there to keep you on track when things get tough.