Not Just Another Advisor: How Your Financial Advising Firm Can Lead the Way
As a financial advisor, you have many competitors. If you want to earn and keep clients’ business, it isn’t enough to be as good as everyone else — you need to stand out.
The current financial landscape presents significant challenges to advisors over the next five to ten years. To overcome circumstances like large numbers of retiring baby boomers and economic downturns, you’ll need to fine-tune your skills and business practices.
Here are four key elements to help you stand out as a financial advisor:
1) Knowledge and Passion
There aren’t any shortcuts to knowledge and passion. You need to know what you’re doing and believe in it. Even when you’ve obtained the necessary education and credentials, you haven’t finished learning.
Knowledge and passion go together. If you don’t care about the financial services industry, you’re unlikely to invest the time and energy required to learn the latest trends and ideas. Advisors passionate about the industry will pay attention to new regulations, standards, methodologies, products, and technologies to keep their clients well-informed. A person who cares about the industry will explore the latest trends and ask thoughtful questions. They will carefully analyze and structure their clients’ portfolios using a variety of metrics and reallocate as needed to produce the best possible results.
2) Prioritize Your Clients, Cultivate Relationships & Develop Sales Skills
Although you won’t get very far without knowledge and passion, your soft skills may be just as critical in getting and keeping clients, perhaps even more so. As you develop your relationships with clients, it’s important to ask questions that help you determine their needs and desires and gather data that will inform your decisions.
You also need to understand your products and services and the benefits they provide your clients. You don’t need to push products on people (and it’s unethical to sell them products they don’t need), but if you can effectively show how your products can solve your clients’ problems, you’ll be much more convincing than if you simply present your products and list their features.
No two clients are alike, so getting to know your clients is essential so you can serve them effectively. If you do your job well, you won’t just build a portfolio — you’ll create a long-lasting relationship.
3) Find Your Niche and Go Deep, Not Wide
If you’re searching for ways to differentiate yourself, why not concentrate your efforts on a niche market? This may seem counterintuitive — after all, if you’re marketing to higher numbers of potential clients, a wide net theoretically should pull in higher numbers of actual clients. But this calculation doesn’t account for how targeting your services can save time and attract more clients.
When you focus on people belonging to specific age groups, professions, phases of life, or companies, you will gain an understanding of their unique needs. For example, you can develop a deep understanding of a particular company’s retirement benefits or which products are the best solutions for parents concerned about paying for college. You will become the expert in your chosen field, making it easier for your clients to trust your competence and refer their friends and colleagues to you
4) Make Data-Driven Decisions
As circumstances change, so should your firm. For example, you may learn that investors increasingly prefer better digital capabilities and personalized advice. How will this information change your business? You may change your onboarding process, acquire document management software, or revise your marketing strategy.
With a better process for organizing digital information, you can use the time that would otherwise be spent filling out paper forms to develop deeper relationships with your clients and better understand their concerns.
Responding to your clients’ needs is key to providing the best service possible. Focus your knowledge and passion and adapt your products and services to your clients. Once you understand your clients’ preferences, you can implement smart changes that will lead to greater profitability. In investing, it pays to be a contrarian. The same is true for your financial advising business. If you want to stand out from the competition, don’t do what everyone else is doing. Take the time to learn how you can best serve your clients so you can stand out from the crowd.
Thinking about learning new ways to provide better financial advising services to your clients?
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