Success is subjective, and can be difficult to measure.
As a financial advisor, however, your success is directly tied to the financial success of your clients.
While hard work and strategic thinking as you help them plan and invest their money certainly play a part, there’s more to building a reputation — and a successful life — than merely putting in the work hours and recommending the “right” portfolios.
Here’s some good news: there’s no single personality type that’s required for success. Rather, there are actions you can take to establish and demonstrate qualities clients look for in a financial professional.
Consider these three important qualities you can develop and nurture that may help you achieve new heights of success and, in turn, help your clients do the same.
1. Demonstrate Trustworthiness
Confidence may be the most important factor to clients when seeking financial advice. A typical investor may not have the in-depth knowledge or financial literacy to authoritatively evaluate the many investment opportunities and products the market has to offer.
Many voices are out there competing for your clients’ attention — and their money — and it can be difficult to know which financial advice to trust.
You may find plenty of investors choose their financial advisor based on reputation. That means establishing and nurturing connections in your community, and with current clients, is a practice that may, over time, result in new referrals. Prospective clients can almost certainly be counted on to read online reviews and check social media profiles, so it’s as important as ever to establish a professional and positive social media presence.
You’ll also need to put time and effort into building client relationships and earning their confidence long after they first walk through your door. Ask questions and seek to understand each individual client’s needs, wants, fears and hopes for the future. Resources including Behavioral Finance tools can facilitate conversations that help clients articulate their values and understand how their emotions affect them.
Taking a holistic approach to clients’ wealth and their overall financial wellness, and getting to know your clients beyond their investable assets, show you truly care.
2. Stay Informed
Have you been so busy building the business that you haven’t taken time to build on your knowledge and expertise? When did you last attend a conference or trade show? The last time you received an email about a new product, did you reflexively hit the delete button instead of reading?
It’s easy to become reliant on tactics that served you well in the past and grow complacent with your go-to products. But it’s vitally important to expand your awareness of new products and stay informed about emerging trends, regulations and tax implications in financial planning and investing. Your clients look to you as an expert, so deepening your knowledge is essential to growing your book of business.
Event networking can provide you with knowledge that might not be easily available from articles or seminars, and the relationships you can establish with other experts can continue to pay knowledge dividends in the future.
You can also leverage resources and the knowledge of dedicated product teams to ensure you have a thorough understanding of product benefits, features, rules and other information.
When your clients hear you talking about the latest insights or the newest products that offer advantages beyond traditional portfolios, they may be more likely to recommend your services within their personal networks.
3. Be the Expert
Elite advisors often have a few things in common. First, they know their products in and out. They’ve taken the time to study, learn and understand the market and how it’s most likely to perform. Second, they know their clients and the challenges they face, and they work to develop appropriate strategies for solving client problems.
Successful advisors also have a keenly developed sense of empathy. They understand how and when to show compassion, ask more questions or simplify financial jargon in ways a client can comprehend.
Credentials can help to demonstrate expertise and ethics and put an investor’s mind at ease. Clients may have a better perception of someone who’s achieved a master’s degree in finance or earned their Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) title. When investors see that you strive for personal achievements and success, they may have greater confidence that you’ll have the same attitude toward their success as well.
Define Success on Your Terms
Every individual measures success differently. Do you love what you do for a living? Then, by many standards, you’ve already achieved success.
Perhaps no greater measure of success is the level of fulfillment and satisfaction you receive from helping clients reach their goals. Working as a financial professional and helping clients overcome challenges and achieve financial security can be a truly rewarding career.
In order to achieve that fulfillment, you need to attract those clients off the sidelines and help them overcome any fears they may have about investing, and the potential for loss in volatile markets.
Our white paper, The Value of Risk Control Accounts in Retirement Planning, can help you reach potential investors and have those confidence-building conversations. Click the link below for your copy.