Even though I have gray hair I too was once a new financial advisor. If you’re new to our wonderful profession & industry, then welcome! If you’re a veteran then you still might learn a thing or two! Choosing to be a financial advisor as a career path can lead to sometimes unlimited earning potential with the added benefit of a flexible work schedule. Which is to say: how much work you put in determines how much you earn. Thus the downside is that you can make nothing and actually go into debt!
I should also mention the potential high stress levels associated with being a new financial advisor. From inconsistent paychecks to not knowing where your next client is coming from can really wear on you, but I believe there are ways to keep those stress levels at bay by working smartly.
In the spirit of improving the advisor success rate, allow me to share some tips and tricks of the trade I wish I had when I first started out.
Add value by leading with advice
Consider this: your job title is a financial advisor, not a financial product salesman. Sure, the latter is inevitably how you make your money, but you need to appreciate the fact that people reach out to you (and trust you) to provide them with the advice they sometimes very desperately seek. Lead with great, thoughtful advice and you’ll soon find that product sales follow suit. As Michael Kitces says “the money has to land somewhere.” It just needs to land in the right spot as a byproduct of great and holistic advice.
Ultimately, leading with advice is fact becoming table stakes since this is what the consumer is looking for from their financial advisor. It also will help you distinguish yourself from the product salesperson, so I highly recommend putting in the effort to ensure that the advice you’re providing is holistic, relevant, and valuable. Think of the advice as the sales pitch itself.
Deliver an exceptional experience and great service
People are looking for experiences that feel good, are simple and easy, and make their lives easier. Before we even get to product, you should focus on delivering an experience that makes your clients feel great while solving their problem at the same time. The best way to do that is by being cognisant of their needs, which means you’re listening carefully and paying close attention to what those needs actually are and using great tech to make the entire process streamlined.
You will want to make sure to continue this great experience by providing a similar service experience where clients continue to feel great after agreeing to work with you.
Experience and service will go a long way in building rapport, thereby enhancing trust and loyalty. Then there is the added benefit of reaping the rewards of word of mouth. Clients who feel seen and taken care of, are more likely to share their experiences with family and friends.
Never stop learning
You may have gone to college and/or even achieved your CFP designation, but know that you’re never done learning in this profession & industry. Besides constant product updates across providers, it’s also important to keep a handle on broader changes, too. This includes market indicators and volatility, generational trends and preferences, CFP continuing education, estate and tax planning changes, and the list goes on. Stay on top of your game.
Investing in yourself in this way will elevate your ability to provide extraordinary advice in a nuanced way, making the points above a breeze for you. Advice and service will come naturally. People will pay for your years of training so you can help them do much faster what took you so long to learn.
Get a professional advisor website
Word of mouth is an excellent indicator of the service quality you’re providing, but unfortunately, it’s not the only way people are looking for and finding a financial advisor. A professional website will be a vital tool in the financial advisor’s arsenal. It’s your 24/7 digital storefront and it needs to look amazing! Also note the emphasis on professional: a shoddy-looking, poorly-worded website won’t do you any good. Done well, your website will be a worthy investment. A great advisor website will show potential clients who you are, what you do, who you specialize helping, your pricing & services, and hopefully a value-add lead magnet like a free eBook. This is how you further establish credibility and trust with your audience
Know your target market
A spray-and-pray approach may get you volume in terms of reach, but a wide reach is no good if your message is irrelevant to a large part of that market. I recommend identifying the key demographics (human & financial dimensions) of people you want to serve and then create & target your communications specifically for them. You will find that each group will have their own pain points, preferences, and investment goals. For example, the needs of newly practicing doctors will vary greatly from teachers who are about to retire.
Knowing your ideal client, truly knowing it, will help drive everything from your brand & marketing to your sales process and so much more. Don’t underestimate the power of defining your ideal client.
How you approach your market will greatly impact your chances of success, and again we come to advice. An awareness your ideal client will give you touchpoints to provide tailored financial advice to your ideal client based on their stage or way of life.
Have a plan and stick to a daily schedule
Sure, the job of a financial advisor has the perk of flexibility, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a functioning daily schedule, and a long-term execution plan. Putting a daily schedule together will aid in keeping you on course, while having a long-term plan will ensure you have an end goal in sight to work towards.
First and foremost when blocking your calendar is to schedule your personal & family time. This should always come first, it’s crucial to a healthy life-work balance.
You should also schedule everything from marketing (we used to call this prospecting) to case prep for new clients you are helping. The important thing here is consistency.
As a financial advisor since 2006 I’ve made it a point to give back to our industry & profession to empower financial advisors by sharing proven concepts, strategies, and tactics to successfully build, grow, and market your own practice.
Check out what I’ve built for advisors over at Conneqtor. It’s a comprehensive financial advisor training & course that’s turn-key, covering everything you need to start, run, grow, and market your business in the digital world we live in.
Please follow me on LinkedIn for fun and actionable content and if there’s a topic you’d like me to cover, send me a note and I’ll see what my team and I can come up with.