5 traits of a top performer

Financial professionals have many characteristics in common: We tend to be morning people, we spend a certain amount of time numbers-crunching and we really, really like coffee. But what are the characteristics that above average advisors share? Inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s fascinating book Outliers: The Story of Success, which examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success, we set out to name the five traits of highly successful advisors.

  1. They are trustworthy. It’s no secret that the client-advisor relationship is based on a foundation of trust. Top-performing advisors seem to do an incredibly good job of not only building a solid image of trust but actually being exceptionally trustworthy. They stick to their word and keep their promises. Many advisors seem to be naturally charismatic people, but following through and doing what you said you would is what counts here.
  2. They have high standards. Top-performing advisors set unrealistically high goals — and then meet them. They make a habit of setting high standards and somehow find a way to meet these goals. Advisors who think about goals in terms of opportunities rather than challenges are better at thinking outside the box. And they apply this trait to all areas of life; they are star athletes, students and performers because they always expect the best from themselves.
  3. They seek out new learning opportunities. Whether it’s a free training seminar on prospecting or an interesting newspaper article, top advisors are constantly looking for opportunities to learn more about their industry. They seek out resources from which to learn and grow and are always searching for ways to implement new ideas.
  4. They are action-oriented. It’s not enough to simply have great ideas; the most successful advisors know they also need to put their good ideas to work. Top performers are always ready to take action and get the ball rolling. They want to set deadlines and get working on turning great ideas into successful realities.
  5. They are excellent listeners. Why is being a great listener an important characteristic of a top advisor? Clients of these advisors will tell you that they “just get it.” This trait is a simple one: Top advisors do a better job of understanding clients’ wants, needs, fears, pain points and motivations. During meetings, successful advisors are able to focus on clients to the exclusion of everything else. They are successful because they understand their clients, and they understand their clients because they are excellent listeners.

There are a myriad of reasons why some advisors fail, but all highly successful advisors share certain traits in common. These traits can be nurtured and developed over time, so that you too can rise to the top.

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