Apr 22, 2020

How to Become a Successful Financial Advisor

By Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management

How to Become a Successful Financial Advisor

It can be both exciting and stressful to be in the early stages of your career as a financial advisor. So many opportunities. So many challenges. How should you be dedicating your time to get the best results?

Here are 6 pieces of advice that can help guide you to success.

Dedicate time to business development.

We know how obvious this sounds. Of course you’re going to dedicate time to business development. It’s the only way to gain clients and make money, isn’t it? The challenge comes in keeping up the good work after you start to get busy doing paid client work. Paid work comes first, but if you don’t carve out time to do the unpaid work of business development, your pipeline will soon dry up and you’ll have too much time for business development. You’ll end up with an uneven workflow pattern that likely won’t lead to growth.

So don’t assume that you will follow this advice. Make a plan that doesn’t allow you not to follow it. Right now, carve out a percentage of your weekly time (20% is a good goal) to spend on business development activities and block it off on your calendar...for the entire year.

Invest time and money in learning.

There are so many learning opportunities for financial advisors. Learning should be a lifelong practice, but it is especially important when you are starting out. Perhaps take a course in selling, to help you close more opportunities. Learn life-planning skills to diversify your services. Maybe go to conferences. You might even consider hiring a business coach. And read, read, read. Books, magazines, online articles. Ask the people around you for recommendations.

Take advantage of marketing opportunities.

One marketing channel is rarely enough. Optimize your LinkedIn profile to show your abilities and share your philosophy. Does your firm have a great website? That’s a basic necessity. Can you use Facebook ads? Do you have anything printed to give to prospects? Is there a professional marketing firm at your service?

Content marketing—blogs, articles, don’t forget video—can offer great opportunities for financial advisors. You have information that many people want. Sharing it can motivate them to come to you for more.

Stay top of mind.

There are little things—like thank you cards, interesting articles you run across, etc.— that you can do to stay in the minds of your prospects and established professionals that can help your business, such as CPAs or estate lawyers. No matter how good a job you do of selling yourself initially, time can erode all of those gains if you don’t keep yourself top of mind. Also consider sending links to your content, or recommendations for interesting articles or books you’ve read. Think outside the box; try to do or send things that will have value to the recipients. They are likely to remember these, and you, longer.

Listen more than you talk.

This is a top rule in selling but it’s easy to forget, especially when you are new in the field. You may feel that you need to convince prospects and other professionals of your skills. Many new advisors tend to focus too much on this. “I have xxx experience, education, certifications, etc.” The reality is that you need to focus on understanding what your clients and prospects need from you. Most of the talking you do should be to clarify and demonstrate this understanding. Ask questions, learn all you can. Make your conversations mainly about the people you are there to help, and gaining their confidence may come more easily and smoothly.

Develop a strong support system.

Most successful people know they can’t do it all alone. They have mentors and peers, even competitors, with whom to talk things over. Talk to other people in your firm, those at your level and those with more experience. Get involved with your local financial planning and advisory community. It’s always good to know where to go if you have a question or problem, and exchanging ideas can be good for everyone.

At United Capital, a Goldman Sachs company, we partner with forward-thinking financial advisors who are planning-centric and obsessed with helping their clients live the life they want. Our FinLife® CX process and system offers digital workflow processes to help you scale your business, award-winning advisor training and a winning client experience. Register for a demonstration today.

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United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC (“United Capital”), is an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and subsidiaries of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management and financial services organization. Investing involves risk and clients should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions.

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