One skill financial advisors must master to grow their Practice

One of the most successful financial advisors we know doesn’t get better results or give better advice than his colleagues – yet his practice continues to grow exponentially.

Why? Because he is great at selling and he focuses his efforts on women.

He recognized early that as women become more financially empowered and as male boomers begin to die and the family wealth is transferred to their wives, his best opportunity to grow his business rests with women. But he also realized that prospecting, and especially selling to women, required a different set of skills than he had. So he took the time to learn about marketing to women and upgraded his selling skills. Now, a few years later, this prep work has served him well.

Just being a good financial advisor isn’t enough anymore – arguably having good sales and people skills is just as important and his case is a perfect example.

Like most of us, financial advisors work hard at their business. Understandably, they want to do well but doing well traditionally meant excelling at delivering good rates of return for their clients. So many advisors still focus on becoming licensed as portfolio managers and earning educational credits to become experts in asset allocation, portfolio optimization and risk management. All the while, they put little thought into developing skills related to building strong relationships with people, which is the cornerstone of any successful practice.

To be fair, yours is a profession where interpersonal skills have taken a back seat to investment management. But today, prospecting and selling is all about having good interpersonal skills — and by prospecting, we don’t just mean hobnobbing on the golf course with buddies.

The thinking has always been that if you are good at what you do, clients will come to you, referrals will flow and business will be great. And, while that may have been true in the past, it is no longer the case. Today, you have to be pro-active in meeting and connecting with people on a personal level, especially if you want to connect with women.

Unfortunately, we encounter far too many financial advisors whose practice is floundering and they don’t even know why. They truly believe that working hard at delivering results is all they need to do. They seem surprised when we tell them that just like they had to learn to manage money, they have to learn good selling skills, which includes listening to and understanding people as well as reaching out to them effectively.

To some of you it may seem like too much effort. But consider this: competition is fierce, Fintechs are all the rage and Robo-advisors are coming on strong aimed squarely at the next generation of investors, millennials – you can’t continue to do things the old way with a market that expects a different experience from an advisor. But fear not, it isn’t all gloom and doom. For those willing to take the time to learn how to present themselves as a person, rather than an investment machine, and are willing to spend the money to reach out to women in their environment, there are tremendous opportunities, not only for today but well into the future.

Take away: Understand that women represent a huge growth opportunity but being a good, even excellent, financial advisor is not enough. You must upgrade your selling and people skills.

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