Not to diminish the hard work, effort, and time that goes into becoming a financial advisor—few professions are as demanding—but the essential skill advisors must acquire is the ability to sell. Perhaps a more acceptable term would be “the art of persuasion.” Whichever way you want to frame it, if you have difficulty persuading or convincing people to take action, you stand little chance of success.
Of course, that’s true of just about any profession that requires changing or influencing people’s behavior. It just happens to be more challenging when selling financial advice and expecting to get paid for it. Advisors must understand that buying an intangible service requiring people to trust that the advisor can deliver that intangible value is scary for most people. It’s far less threatening to stay with the status quo and do nothing.
The trouble is, if you can’t convince people to follow you or your advice, you aren’t accomplishing anything. To overcome the inherent trust deficit and open prospects’ minds, financial advisors must constantly refine three critical soft skills, or they will have fewer chances to demonstrate their highly trained competencies.