Do you run a financial planning firm and you want to carve a niche? If YES, here are 10 insider secrets and of the most successful financial advisors.
In these challenging economic times, good financial advice is more important than it has ever been before. A financial advisor is basically a one-stop shop for all your financial needs. The advisor’s main responsibility is to understand what is going on in your life and develop a financial plan that is based on your needs.
That is, the solution they proffer is customized to suit you and your situation. You should always be very careful of any financial advisor who tries to sell you any specific investment without first asking you any questions about your financial goals and background.
A good financial advisor will develop his plan by following a three step process.
- First the advisor will ask questions to determine your financial goals. These goals include important life events such as retirement, college and home ownership.
- Then the advisor will ask questions about your assets and liabilities in order to determine your financial position.
- Finally, the advisor will combine all these information and will then create a personalized financial plan for you which will be a holistic picture of your assets and liabilities and what you plan to achieve. Then the financial advisor can make recommendation on how you should implement this plan.
Every good advisor will use a variant of this three step process. They may call it a different name, but these are generally things that you should look for if you are in the market for financial advice. Good financial advisors usually get in contact with their clients from time to time because they know that the world is dynamic and that financial plans are subject to being updated so as to reflect this dynamic nature.
Without a doubt, highly successful financial advisors do things differently from their less successful peers. Here are 10 success secrets of the most successful financial advisors in the world:
10 Insider Secrets of the Most Successful Financial Advisors
1. They undertake client survey: most financial advisors always survey their clients when they meet them; they usually ask them about their assets, but what a lot of advisors do not ask is about other soft things in their life which could really mean a lot to them. If you can know those personal details, then you can have them itemized so you will be able to market to them on a much more effective level.
It is not advisable to do client surveys over the internet because people hardly ever respond to emailed surveys, rather you can make use of the snail mail. When a new client walks into your office, you can make this part of your paper work.
The client survey you offer your clients should contain peripheral information like hobbies and interests, favorite authors, magazines they read etc. When you have gathered these information, you will then be able to segment your clients. You can have a spreadsheet where you can group clients who have similar interests together.
These information come in very handy when top financial investors want to undertake a client appreciation event. The average financial advisor is likely to invite all his clients to one event where he has a presentation for all of them; but in reality, different clients have different needs and as such one event will not sufficiently cater to all the needs of your customers.
For instance, you can offer a client appreciation program specifically for only your clients who play golf. You can hold it in a country club where a golf pro can offer them golf lessons. Since just a few of your clients pay golf, a lot of the people you target will come.
Furthermore, information that is gathered during the client survey process can also be beneficial if you want to undertake a client gifting program. The average financial advisor may do next to nothing during a client’s birthday but the top advisors send customized gifts to clients (not to every client, just the A level clients).
Another tip that top financial advisors use when gifting clients is to provide them with gifts that have to be consumed by more than two people. For example, if you intend to gift your clients movie tickets, don’t just give them two but six movie tickets.
This is because, if you provide them with only two, only your client and his marital partner will go but if you give them six tickets, they will take along with them 2 other couples and will most likely tell them where they got the movie tickets from.
2. They have clearly defined goals: very successful financial advisers know the importance of setting goals. The goals that they set should not be unrealistic. Rather, the goals should be specific, measurable, timely, achievable and relevant to your objectives.
By setting goals, you will be able to visualize your desire and create a path which if followed will lead to success. Setting goal as well as the activities you need to complete to achieve your goals is one of the greatest skills you will ever learn. It will positively impact every aspect of your life, both business and personal.
3. They are focused: as you have clearly delineated your goals and objectives, the next thing you should do is to put all your focus into it and see to it that they become successful. Write down the top five goals that you need to achieve on a daily basis before you leave the office each day then review the task again the next morning.
Also, you should have a routine and a schedule which will help you to stay on track and prevent you from getting distracted. Finally, you should identify all the possible sources of distraction and eliminate them all. It could be the telephone, Facebook or emails. Either way, you should keep them to the barest minimum.
4. They send monthly newsletter: top financial advisors take their time every month to send out newsletters. These newsletters can be used as a means of keeping in touch with your clients and also keeping them updated on any recent happenings.
These newsletters should not be electronic newsletters, rather they should be sent through snail mail. This is because people hardly every ready newsletters in their emails. This does not have to cost you a lot of money. There are a lot of cheap options that you can make use of when trying to send out newsletters.
5. They have a target market: successful financial advisors know that in other to become a force to be reckoned with in the financial advisory world, they need to be strategic in the clients they choose to serve. You have to be specific on the type of niche market you want to engage in for your practice.
By trying to provide your service for everyone, you are actually serving no one and that is not good. The advantage of defining your target market or ideal client is that you will get a clear picture of who you are actually serving. By pinpointing the target market you will be able to find new clients and significantly improve the effectiveness of prospecting.
You will need to aggregate a target client profile which should ideally contain their demographic and psychographic details. You can start up by making a list of all the things you like the most about your best clients.
Is it their socio-economic status, their geographic location, gender, age, education, profession, are they business owners or salary earners, are they families in need of wealth management, are they single parents et al. In order to perfect your target process, you will need to come up with an interesting and engaging elevator pitch which you can use on an impromptu basis to win over potential clients.
6. They are experts in what you do: successful financial advisors have a reputation for having an area of expertise and tie this into their target client. Being an expert in your financial advisory niche allows you to market yourself easily.
You will not have to cold call your clients because they will be the ones to come to you. You should always have in mind that every client wants an advisor who he perceives as having extensive knowledge about finance and the necessary skills to solve their problems. Furthermore, clients who know that you are a specialist in what they are seeking will be more likely to approach you and engage your service.
For instance, if they are looking for help for estate planning, real estate, tax planning or wealth management, they are more likely to feel at home with a specialist in their particular field of interest as opposed to a generalist. In addition, by demonstrating your expertise it will help to improve your close ratio.
7. They invest in themselves: a financial advisor is usually tasked with the duty of helping his or her clients to invest in securities, mutual funds and other investments, yet, if you want to succeed as a financial advisor, you must also invest in yourself.
Instead of just wasting your weekends on frivolities, you can use that time to educate yourself more on your niche and in other areas too. The newer you are as a financial advisor, the more time you should invest in educating and upgrading your knowledge, skills and expertise.
You should strive to gain designations and credentials that will make you more relevant in your niche. Investing in yourself also goes far beyond learning about your field. You should also endeavor to ensure that you are physically fit by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.
8. They network with people: if you are burdened with the task of running the business side of your practice (that is, booking appointments, paperwork, making phone calls, answering emails and a lot of other business related stuff) all by yourself, the tendency can raise to be lax in your pursuit of new clients. You should not just leave sourcing new customers to luck.
You have to network and meet with new clients all the time. Schedule meetings with current clients and attend networking events. New business will not just drop out of thin air if you are immersed in paper work. You should find out where exactly your ideal clients converge and then create a strategy to mingle with them on a regular basis.
A very big mistake that a lot of financial advisors make when networking is that they quit when businesses do not come after the have only been to an event once or twice. The key thing here is to be persistent. In addition, do not just attend all the networking events in town, be strategic with your approach and know how to target your efforts.
9. They build an advisory team: no man is an island of knowledge and your practice will definitely suffer if you have a solo practice. Some less knowledgeable financial advisors tend to be resistant to creating a team based financial advisory practice.
This may be due to the fact that they want to always be in control, lack of trust, cost involved in hiring new staff or even feeling like no one can do the work better than them. However, the disadvantage of this far outweighs its merits.
For starters, when you build your business around just yourself, you will find it extremely difficult to take time off from your business without adversely affecting the business. Also it is very difficult to network if you are doing all the other jobs yourself. Furthermore, you will find it difficult to carve out time to meet with clients if you are doing all the work alone. In addition, practices that are built around one financial advisor are difficult to sell.
But when you train your clients to deal with a team environment right from the beginning, they will become less dependent on you. You will also experience less stress due to the fact that you will have more time to relax yourself. In addition will you have ample time to not only network but to meet with your already existing customers. Furthermore, the practice is easier to sell to clients because they will know that it is not a one man show.
10. They manage their financial advisor practice like a business: irrespective of if you are an independent financial advisor, a broker with a wirehouse or a fee-only advisor, you are a business and your actions and inactions can be the difference between the success or failure of your brand.
If you make an uninformed decision, neglect to follow up on your prospective clients, come in late or leave early, your business will pay the price. A successful financial advisor treats his practice in the same way a businessman treats his business.