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Practice Management > Building Your Business

12 Things Successful Advisors Learn

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High turnover is the curse of the financial services industry. Some advisors make it, others are shown the door. However, there are several lessons experienced advisors learn through trial and error.

  1. It’s all about ringing the cash register. Regardless of your job title, the role of a financial advisor is primarily sales. Many advisors complain about the paperwork and other things they are required to do. If you are bad at paperwork, but great at opening new accounts, the firm will deal with it. If you are a great at paperwork and bad at bringing in business, the firm will fire you.
  2. Every day is a blank canvas. You should start each day with a great attitude. Nothing has happened to ruin it. If your local TV news talks about overnight fires and shootings, change the channel. Clients and prospects can sense your attitude.
  3. To be a big producer, act like a big producer. When meeting or talking on the phone with a prospect for the first time, they don’t know if you are a newbie or the firm’s top producer. It’s not written on your forehead. Projecting confidence should make an impact on the prospect.
  4. Don’t focus on what you won’t do. It’s difficult to grow your business if you say: “I don’t work with people who…” or “I only work with nice people.” Find ways to widen, not shrink the funnel. You might develop a niche for doctors, but don’t limit it to certain ones to the exclusion of others.
  5. Everyone should have the opportunity to say no. You might assume someone is going through a difficult time or doesn’t have much money. Don’t let that prevent you from politely discussing business. They might say “This isn’t a good time” but will probably be flattered you asked. If you avoid asking certain family members for business, word might reach other well off family members “You don’t do business with family” because you didn’t approach them.
  6. You can chop down a tree with a hammer. Persistence pays off. Newer advisors might put a prospecting strategy in place, bring it to the point it’s about to produce results, then abandon it because it isn’t working. They put another strategy in place, with similar results. They end up with a series of failed strategies when the first might have worked with a little adjustment along the way.
  7. A client is forever, not just for Christmas. Some advisors take on clients when starting out, then throw them overboard as they get successful. The client has made an investment in you. They have been loyal, undemanding and OK with your fees. It’s unfair to imply “I’m too big for you now.” When you take on a new client, assume it will be a long-term relationship. Find a way to make it happen. Referrals are a good start.
  8. Desperate people don’t get dates. If you push too hard, people assume something is wrong. In social prospecting, the opposite of desperate is successful. If you aren’t pushy in social situations, you come across as successful. Successful people want to do business with other successful people. Efficient follow-up is important.
  9. It can be easier to meet HNW people socially vs. getting them on the phone. Once people reach a certain level of accomplishment, they often get involved in the community. Philanthropists attend events because they want to see how their money is being spent, firsthand. Your paths can cross quite easily.
  10. People do business with people they like. It’s another argument in favor of social prospecting. Get to know people socially. Once you’ve identified a need, pick and choose your moment to introduce business.
  11. Everybody needs help with something. Do rich people have it all? You might think money solves all problems. Sometimes it creates new ones. Even if everything is going fine, they still probably have a need, even if it’s as simple as finding a fellow enthusiast to talk about their hobbies and shared interests.
  12. Treat everyone as if they are the most interesting person in the room. People like talking about themselves. Draw them out. Try not to hurry them along. The person talking is the one having a good time. They usually like a good listener. People do business with people they like.

Would you have become successful sooner if you learned these lessons earlier in your career?

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Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon.


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