By Daniella Rand
You’ve worked hard to get where you are today. Becoming a financial advisor is not easy, after all, especially not for those who’ve gone the extra mile to obtain a Certified Financial Planner credential from the CFP Board. If you’re reading this, you’re likely well aware of what it’s taken to get this far.
Unfortunately, financial advisors do not have the luxury of a set-it-and-forget-it profession. Successful advisors undergo dozens of hours of continuing education each year and put in countless more unbilled administrative hours to keep their practices running smoothly.
Even so, many financial advisors struggle to gain traction: they have difficulty building or growing a client base, or struggle to retain the clients they’ve managed to attract.
Those difficulties can be mitigated, in part, with old-fashioned personal and professional development. Indeed, financial advisors who do a few simple things (and do them well) tend to make out better than advisors who fail to take care of the basics. In this article, we’re going to examine three things in particular that all should keep in mind.
3 Things to Know About Being a Better Financial Advisor
These are three of the most important things financial advisors must keep in mind if they’re serious about improving their practice.
1. You Need to Know More About Your Clients Than You Might Think
You’ve chosen to go into a business built around client contact. You’re simply not going to succeed if you recoil from the conversations that need to happen for you to get to know your clients better.
Listening is critical here. As a financial advisor, you’re equal parts professional services provider and personal confidante. Your goal is to incorporate the personal, closely held information that your clients divulge into a comprehensive financial plan that keeps their best interests front and center. That means you’ll need to ask probing questions and listen — really listen — to the answers.
2. You’ve Got to Be There When Your Clients Call
If listening is critical to success in this business, so too is availability. For better or worse, you need to be available when your clients call, especially after hours. At scale, you can task qualified subordinates with taking evening or early-morning calls, but as long as you’re practicing solo, the buck stops with you.
3. Communication Is Critical
Your clients need to know what you’re doing with their money, when you’re doing it, and why you’re taking any particular action. If you’ve done your job to communicate clearly, concisely, and in plain English, there should be no confusion. Learn your clients’ communication preferences — email, phone, video conference, face-to-face meeting, all of the above — and honor them.
There’s More to Learn About Being a Better Financial Advisor
Were these the only three secrets to success in this highly competitive business, the financial advisory industry would be even more crowded than it is.
Of course, there’s far more to know about being a better financial advisor. Whether they’re just getting their feet wet or they’ve been in the business for decades, it’s important for every financial advisor to understand precisely what’s required to stand out from the pack — and to devote their working hours to doing just that.