What does it take to become a successful financial advisor? What are the things financial advisors should do in their first year? What are some good first year financial advisor goals? 

This article will focus on some of the most important things you need to know as a new financial advisor.

1. Confront Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome was originally identified in 1978 by social psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanna Imes at Georgia State University. Their definition is: 

“The internal experience of intellectual phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable, or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” 

New financial advisors commonly feel inadequate because they’re comparing themselves to other, more successful financial advisors. 

Most people never let you see the bad parts of their lives. They only show you what they WANT you to see. Social media has made this worse. When you scroll through social media, you only see the highlight reel of people’s lives. You don’t see their childhoods, problems, or deep-rooted insecurities. 

Besides, your inexperience can be a major advantage because you don’t have anything to “unlearn”. I’ve lost count of the experienced financial advisors I’ve seen who are stuck spinning their wheels because of bad habits they can’t break. If you’re new, you can avoid those traps. 

2. Know How Your Potential Clients Search for a Financial Advisor

The Oechsli Institute once asked 403 investors with a minimum of $500,000 how they would begin looking for a financial advisor. For respondents over age 65, here’s the breakdown: 

  • Search online. (10%)

  • Ask family/friends for a recommendation. (45%) 

  • Ask another professional for recommendations. (34%)

  • None of the above. (11%) 

Here’s the breakdown for respondents under age 45: 

  • Search online. (43%)

  • Ask family/friends for a recommendation. (39%) 

  • Ask another professional for recommendations. (13%)

  • None of the above. (5%) 

So, what can you learn from this information? Well, you should see that your marketing strategies should be tailored based on your clients’ age. 

If your clients skew older, you will want to invest heavily in a referral marketing process. If your clients skew younger, your best bet is building an online presence.

?Knowing this as a first year financial advisor will give you a MASSIVE leg up. Also, just because you can use a marketing strategy doesn’t mean you should. 

I remember watching an interview with Warren Buffett, where he pointed out that he thought one of the biggest mistakes in investing was trading merely because you can. He pointed out that, as an individual investor, just because you CAN trade doesn’t mean you SHOULD. 

In today’s world, it has never been easier to buy and sell stocks. It’s as easy as opening a Robinhood, Vanguard, Fidelity, etc. account. I can short the hottest tech stocks and buy call/put options if I want. 

The same is true for new financial advisors. A lot of times, marketing comes down to picking a few proven strategies and working the heck out of them. 

Sadly, I’m seeing more and more financial advisors chase bright shiny objects. Just because people are out there getting swept up by fads and bad advice doesn’t mean you have to go down with them. 

3. Know your Numbers

Sometimes new financial advisors are under the illusion that they’ll be sitting around picking stocks and reading financial blogs all day. I hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not the case. 

You’ll be building your business… aka marketing… and marketing is math. So, knowing your numbers is critical. If you know your numbers, you will be lightyears ahead of other financial advisors because almost nobody keeps track.

Allow me to illustrate using email marketing as an example… 

Email marketing – which is by far the most effective appointment-setting strategy I’m seeing right now for financial advisors – is made up of a few parts: 

  • Traffic to a landing page. 

  • The landing page conversion rate (how many people join your email list).

  • The email follow-up conversion rate (how many people book an appointment with you). 

Let’s throw in some numbers: 

  • You send 1,000 people to your landing page.

  • 250 people join your email list (25%).

  • 8 people set appointments with you (3%).

  • Assuming a 50% “closing” ratio, you have four new clients. 

If you make $2,500 per client, getting four new clients means $10,000 in revenue added to your business. This is your baseline. By knowing your baseline, you can improve. In this case, you have multiple levers you can pull to get more clients. You can:

  • Increase your traffic. 

  • Increase your landing page conversion rate. 

  • Increase your follow-up conversion rate. 

  • Increase your “closing” ratio.

We’ll assume you improve each part of your process a mere 20%. 

This means instead of sending 1,000 visitors, you send 1,200 visitors. Instead of converting 25% of those visitors, your landing page now converts at 30%. This means 360 people opt-in to your email list. 

Instead of a 3% conversion rate, your follow-up sequence converts at 3.6%. This means 12 people set appointments with you. Instead of converting 50% of those people into clients, you convert 60%. This means you will have 7 new clients. 

Assuming the same $2,500 average revenue per client, you will have added $17,5000 in revenue to your business. Yes, you read that correctly. 

A massive 75% increase in revenue simply by knowing your numbers and improving them a small amount. 

4. Create a Marketing Plan

Why do some financial advisors succeed while others fail miserably? The best answer I’ve been able to come up so far is this: financial advisors who succeed have a plan. 

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” 

According to the consulting firm CEG Worldwide, 80% of advisors producing $1 million or more have written plans. Those making $75,000 or less have written plans only 7% of the time. 

Which side do you want to be on? And a survey, conducted for FA Insights by Design Study, found that only 17% of financial advisors have developed a strategic plan for their businesses. 

This means 83% of financial advisors are out there making plans for their clients without having a plan for themselves. 

But you don’t have to be another statistic. Because while most financial advisors are better at planning their clients’ futures instead of their own, you can take charge and steer your business wherever you want to go. A marketing plan will help you get there. 

I sorted through hundreds of marketing plans – not just for financial advisors, but across multiple industries – and wanted to bang my head against the wall. 

They made everything so complicated that you needed a Harvard MBA to understand. Jargon, charts, graphs, and trivial information which will never put a dime in your pocket. 

Without tooting my own horn too much, I have created some amazing resources (both free and paid) for financial advisors to improve their marketing. I hope you’ll take advantage of them. 

5. Invest in Yourself

What do you call someone who spends all day telling other people to make investments when that person doesn’t invest in him or herself? 

And most financial advisors are hypocrites because they expect clients to invest with them or spend thousands of dollars on a financial plan when they can’t even invest a few bucks in their business. 

Prospective clients can smell the inconsistency from a mile away, so if you’re a new financial advisor, make sure you invest in yourself. 

This can be difficult, especially because some financial advisors pride themselves on being frugal. Saving money is like a competition they have with themselves. Unfortunately, this can bite you in the butt. 

Prospective clients can smell the inconsistency from a mile away, so if you’re a new financial advisor, make sure you invest in yourself. 

This can be difficult, especially because some financial advisors pride themselves on being frugal. Saving money is like a competition they have with themselves. Unfortunately, this can bite you in the butt.

6. Make Sure your Appointment Book is Always Full

I’m not being hyperbolic when I say this: Nothing occurs without an appointment. Appointments with clients and potential customers are essential to the success of our company.

If you’re a financial advisor, you need to focus on getting appointments, especially in your first few years. Other activities may seem important, but they pale in comparison to activities that put you in direct contact with potential customers who can write checks.

The number of appointments to strive for is three a day for the next week. This means setting up firm appointments with potential customers where they are expecting to talk about their finances and what their goals are, as well as how you can assist them.

That’s a very tall order and an admirable goal. Although you may not get three appointments each day, you should still strive for that goal. If you want to be successful, you will have to step outside of your comfort zone.

Appointments that are solely for the purpose of catching up over coffee do not count, unless the person you are meeting with is already a client and they are expecting to be asked for referrals. Meeting with someone from a networking group to trade leads does not count.

Nowadays, it is very difficult to schedule three firm appointments per day. Most people work very hard in order to get to two. Even though you might be tired from work, don’t stop looking for new clients until you have three lined up for each weekday.

That’s 15 appointments per week. Opening accounts with a third of the people you know gives you a good chance of making it.

Don’t worry if they aren’t the biggest accounts. It’s okay as long as they fit your business model. If you meet with 15 prospects per week, you will eventually get your fair share. You need to fight for appointments every day to reach your goal of 15 appointments in the next week.

7. Develop and Rehearse Your Value Proposition

Your statement should be short and memorable in order to communicate who you help and how you help them. It also sets you apart from your competitors. When giving advice to somebody, make sure that it is not just about money, but about their life goals as well. This means taking into account both their financial and non-financial goals.

Most consumers surveyed believe that it is important for a financial advisor’s value proposition to be related to their overall life goals and not just their finances.

You need to practice your speech so that you know it well. Practice the statement until you can say it without thinking about it.

If you need help growing your practice, check out the
video training program, Become Brilliant at the Basics: What They Don’t Teach You in Training. Setting appointments and creating your value proposition are two of the modules in that course.

8. Focus on Your Most Valuable Activity

Everybody’s most valuable activity is different. If you’re an advisor who’s trying to build a business, the most important thing is to get appointments on your calendar. The activity that is most valuable to you is the one that will help you gain new clients and those who are potential clients so that you can assist them in achieving their goals.

I know what your least valuable activity is. I know what your most valuable activity is. Except for interacting with clients and prospects, blogging, financial planning, and social media use are not part of a successful real estate agent’s job.

The most valuable activity for most people is making a phone call, sending an email to request or confirm an appointment, or walking into a small business and asking for the owner.

For every minute during the week that you’re not meeting with people and listening to their needs, you should be focusing on these activities. You can add scheduling routine annual or quarterly reviews to your list of responsibilities later in your career.

spend your time focusing on getting booked appointments rather than worrying about everything else

9. Become a Professional Listener

This cannot be overstated: Soft skills are essential for success in this industry. You cannot learn anything while you are talking. Successful Financial Advisors are professional listeners. The key to providing excellent customer service is to listen to what the client is telling you they want and need.

Use leading questions to encourage the client to share more information. Each question should be an opportunity to do more listening.

When you’re in this process, quash your ego. Don’t even let it into the room. Your ego is causing you to talk too much and not make any sales. Tell your ego to wait outside. Don’t interject your opinions at this point. Let the other person talk.

Just listen to the prospect and ask clarifying questions only when necessary. Allow the prospect to keep talking so that you can gather more helpful information.

10. Master the Basics

I’m all about executing the basics to perfection. The people who are successful become skilled at the basic things and then they keep doing those basics.

When I refer to “the basics,” I am not discussing specialized abilities. Those are important, but those aren’t the basics. The “basics” refers to the daily actions you can take to help you and your clients reach your goals.

Now, that’s easy to say. But it’s very hard to do. It takes a blue-collar mentality: Git ‘er done. Day in, day out. No exceptions. No excuses.

Do you have written goals? That’s a basic. Are they specific, and actionable, with a deadline? Do you check your progress regularly? Do you have someone who will hold you accountable?

Are you keeping your presentations simple? There is too much math and theory in the presentations of too many advisors. Here are two careers saving tips:

  1. Assume the prospect skipped math class.

  2. Pick 2 or 3 simple stories and stick to them.

Finally, keep working hard. Don’t let up on your prospecting. Don’t let up on your marketing. The key difference between those who are just getting by and those who are successful is that the successful are not afraid to get their hands dirty.

About the Author Brian Richards

See Brian's Amazon Author Central profile at https://amazon.com/author/brianrichards

Connect With Me

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}