Financial advisors are talented individuals with a wide range of skill sets.
Since there are several specializations in this profession, the skills of a certified financial planner might not be the same as a financial analyst.
Despite that, there are those general skills that will definitely set up any advisor for success.
With that said, let’s focus on:
Buckle up, and let’s get started.
What Makes a Great Financial Advisor?
There are a host of things that make an advisor great.
In this article, we’ll focus on the top five.
Passion is the key to success in anything in life, more so in the financial advisory industry.
Passion is the fuel that drives a personal financial advisor to help clients, even when they don’t feel like it.
It drives advisors to continuously learn and expand their knowledge to serve their clients better.
It’s the force that pushes advisors to give clients the best financial services to meet their financial objectives.
This may be retirement planning, debt management, estate planning, risk management, or simply budgeting.
Passionate advisors truly care about their work, and how they can continuously give clients value.
They keep up-to-date with the financial industry trends because they want to.
Great advisors examine their clients’ investment portfolios with a discerning eye to identify areas to improve and incorporate any recent developments that might prove helpful.
Because of their passion, not even a bad break can destroy the fire within.
With every setback, they come up with an even better strategy to do better next time.
Targeting a Niche Market
There’s no one financial advisor that can meet everyone’s financial needs.
That’s why personal financial advisors that make it big specialize, instead of working with everyone.
While it seems like limiting oneself, it isn’t.
It’s about making a calculated choice when choosing the ideal target market.
Targeting a niche market requires an advisor to research the market thoroughly to understand the characteristics of their ideal clients.
They must learn as much as possible about their market.
What are their needs, and how can the advisor position themselves to meet those needs.
Defining a customer base makes it easy to develop a marketing strategy that speaks to that specific group in a language they understand.
Targeting further makes it easy for an advisor to find the group they hope to work with.
In essence, an advisor doesn’t have to market their skill set and financial services randomly.
They know exactly where to find their potential clients, what they are looking for, and how to package their offering to woe their target.
Lastly, identifying the ideal client helps advisors sharpen their knowledge along the lines of their clientele’s areas of need.
Hence, serving them better.
Aligning Clients’ Interest with Their Own
Good advisors put their clients’ interests ahead of their own.
They don’t force clients to take investment products that they don’t need so that they can make a sale.
Insurance agents are often culprits of selling policies with too much coverage, which translates to higher premiums.
The same goes for mutual fund representatives.
Oftentimes, a client could get a better plan with other insurance products, but the advisors choose otherwise.
In addition, aligning a client’s interest with an advisor’s means charging the usual investment management fee and not overcharging the client.
Fiduciary advisors have a higher chance of winning their clients’ trust because their recommendations are solely focused on their clients’ financial well-being.
Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it’s exactly what an advisor needs to be ahead of the pack.
The financial advisor’s job requires them to know as much as possible about their clients.
This calls for one to be inquisitive, to want to know more.
Personal financial advisors must ask questions that require the client to give details about their relationship with money and general life.
Asking questions helps an advisor develop a comprehensive financial plan.
Moreover, curiosity pushes advisors to be open to new ideas, learn more about new concepts, and continuously hone their skills to grow their financial advisor careers.
Staying on Top of Mind With Their Network
It’s one thing to establish relationships and another to build those relations.
Existing clients want to know that their advisors have them in their thoughts.
That they are working behind the scenes to deliver that which they promised.
Thus, an advisor must reach out regularly to show clients that they are on top of things.
Besides that, it’s a financial advisor’s job to keep tabs on prospects.
They might not be interested in their services now, but they might be in the future.
And when that time comes, they better be their first point of contact.
Therefore, advisors must communicate with their clients through emails, social media, or phone calls.
This doesn’t need to eat up their whole day because a wide range of email and social media marketing tools automate messages.
Constantly communicating helps clients know that the advisor has them in mind. That they care, and this further strengthens client relationships.
Financial Advisor Skills
Financial advisors are multi-talented individuals with a wide range of skill sets.
Some of the skills are inborn, while the majority of it advisors learn on the job.
More than being good with numbers, financial advisors should have the following skills to succeed in their financial advisor careers.
Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Communication skill is at the core of financial advising career.
Financial advisors communicate with clients through emails, phone calls, and one-on-one.
In all these channels, an advisor must practice active listening to understand clients’ needs and financial goals.
Nodding, paraphrasing, asking the client to clarify issues, and responding to questions are some of the ways that show an advisor is actively listening.
More than listening, advisers must communicate their financial services clearly in simple layman’s terms.
They need to make the client understand why they need their services and how they’ll help the client reach their goals.
More importantly, body language plays a major role in communication.
Thus, advisors must project a cool demeanor at all times.
Perhaps a neutral facial expression and a warm smile can go a long way in creating a welcoming atmosphere.
Additionally, a financial advisor needs communication skills to elaborate research findings in ways that clients understand.
More than that, interpersonal skills come in handy for an advisor to convert potential clients into clients.
A financial advisor must be able to relate to the client and find common ground.
They should be able to establish connections and maintain relationships with clients.
Lastly, public speaking also comes in handy, because financial advisors attend seminars to market their skills and services.
Sales and Marketing Skills
Without sales and marketing skills, a financial advisor’s career is as good as dead.
Advisors marketing the financial products and services they offer is at the center of growing a client base.
In sales, advisors must target their niche market with marketing tactics that match their profile.
They must be persistent and convincing enough to attract new clients and expand their client base.
A financial planner’s sales skills allow them to effectively communicate how they’ll help clients manage their finances and meet their long-term goals.
Similarly, sales and marketing skills help advisors convince clients that the investment strategies recommended or the financial advice offered is the best course of action to maximize return on investment.
Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills
Problem-solving skills help advisors work under pressure and promptly look for solutions instead of giving up.
As a problem solver, an advisor should not only focus on their own challenges but also those of their colleagues.
Problem-solving skills allow advisors to remain patient under pressure.
They can better control their emotions and make sound financial decisions, even in the worst of circumstances.
Beyond solving problems in a timely fashion, advisors require analytical skills since they work with a wide range of clients whose financial needs vary widely.
These clients have unique investment portfolios.
Hence, the approach an advisor takes for each differs.
Analytical skills enable advisors to examine clients’ risk tolerance, personal finance, assets, liability, among other variables and develop a financial plan that matches the clients’ financial goals.
Advisors work with numbers to determine asset allocation, income projections, portfolio growth, and return on investments.
They equally need to analyze market trends and determine how regulatory changes impact investors’ investment portfolios.
So, analytical skills are crucial for an advisor to make prudent financial decisions based on facts.
Whether it’s with co-workers, management, partners, or investors, it’s crucial to maintain relationships with others in the business.
Relationship management calls for an advisor to have listening skills, learn conflict resolution, and have little experience in counseling.
More often than not, when clients seek financial guidance, they have trouble with money management.
Therefore, more than giving financial advice, advisers must be able to counsel their clients.
They should also give clients unbiased advice depending on their needs and educate them on better financial management.
Relationship management also requires advisors to learn about personalities and how to handle different people.
To better manage relationships, financial advisors must understand clients’ emotions behind the financial decisions they make.
Relationship management skills go a long way in nurturing networks and building a strong book of business that keeps giving.
Attention to Details and Organizational Skills
Being detail-oriented leaves no room for errors.
Financial advisors must pay close attention to clients’ needs so that they can recommend investment strategies that truly meet the clients’ financial objectives.
This skill is important in explaining the investment strategies in a way that a client understands.
Moreover, paying attention to details in record-keeping and maintaining up-to-date, accurate financial records are paramount for the smooth running of a financial advising business.
Being detail-oriented also enables advisors to gain insights into the financial market and any trends that might affect the clients’ financial plans.
Additionally, organizational skills, combined with attention to detail, allow advisors to serve their clients effectively.
When a personal financial planner is organized, they manage their time better.
They are equally better placed to grow their client base and thereby increase their income.
Another skill set that’s a must-have is self-motivation.
The financial advisory industry is competitive.
It requires an advisor to push themselves to achieve their goals.
Whether it’s maintaining the existing clients, prospecting for new ones or keeping abreast with the market trends, an advisor must always take the initiative themselves.
Successful financial advisors recognize opportunities.
They go above and beyond to grow their own businesses.
These advisors are always out there, following up with prospects and closing deals.
Statistically, financial advising is a high-stress job.
Financial advisors handle people’s finances, which is one of the most critical areas of someone’s life.
Every decision a financial planner makes has the potential to change the client’s life for the better or the worst.
Even more stressful is the constant sales and marketing to increase the number of clients.
Not to mention the long working hours.
Since they are always performing at high levels to help clients avoid financial disasters, there’s a need for an advisor to manage the stress that comes with the job description.
Thus, stress management practices or tolerance towards a high-pressure work environment is crucial to succeed as a financial advisor.
For a successful financial advisor career, financial advisors must be project managers.
Effective project management entails staying organized with all tasks at hand.
It calls for time management, effective budgeting, and meeting project deadlines.
Advisors with project management skills keep tabs on every detail during and after accomplishing a project.
Another important part here is having all documents and reports in hard and soft copies such that they can be easily retrieved from anywhere, wherever needed.
Risk management is paramount in financial planning.
Advisors must research and analyze the risk that might hinder clients from reaching their financial goals.
Since the financial industry keeps changing, staying abreast with updates in the market allows advisors to give up-to-date investment advice.
Moreover, risk assessment skills come in handy when analyzing clients’ financial data and choosing investment products that best suit their financial situation.
Equally important is anticipating and averting those risks before they limit the client’s investment growth.
Proficiency in Computer Skills
Proficiency in computer skills is mandatory as a financial analyst.
Even generalist advisors require this skill.
The amount of financial data that advisors need to analyze is huge.
It’s impossible to effectively deliver without software.
Advisors must have the skills to manage the wide range of software programs that track clients’ and market data.
More importantly, proficiency in excel goes a long way in organizing and manipulating data.
Additionally, advisors should embrace job training to stay updated on new software programs to manage data better.
Top Qualities of Successful Financial Advisors
Financial planning requires an advisor to embody particular traits to help clients with their financial needs better.
Here are some of the top qualities that can propel advisors to greater heights in their career development.
The financial advisory industry is highly competitive.
For that reason, the only way advisors can succeed is to create SMART goals.
Goals allow an advisor to visualize where they want to be and the actions it will take to get there.
SMART goals are actionable and straightforward.
They charter a path for an advisor to follow towards success.
Thus, goal-oriented advisors have a routine to work with.
They are not just busy. They are productive.
These advisors stay on task and weed out all distractions, be it social media, phone calls, or email notifications.
They deliver results and meet deadlines in record time.
They are also self-driven.
Hence, they are always out there prospecting and marketing their financial services to potential customers.
Strong Action Taker
Successful advisors are action-oriented.
They don’t just set goals and sit back.
They take action.
They are purposeful and intentional.
Such advisors run their calendars.
They manage their time effectively.
Action-oriented advisors understand their team members’ strengths and weaknesses, hence, delicate tasks effectively.
They are responsible and committed to the success of the whole team.
They also stand out because of their adaptability to change.
Trustworthiness is a turn-on in the finance industry.
Reliable advisors who mean what they say and say what they mean tend to win clients’ trust.
And that’s the trading currency in the business.
Personal financial advisors can easily build trust with clients if they are personable.
When advisors exude positive energy and a welcoming attitude, potential clients find it easy to ask questions and communicate their needs.
This helps an advisor to have a deeper understanding of the client’s financial needs, goals, and risk tolerance.
Moreover, when clients can trust an advisor, they are comfortable with them making financial decisions on their behalf.
Since finance matters are a very sensitive part of life, only advisors that can show clients that they can be trusted have a chance to grow their own business.
Their clients will stay for longer.
They may even add more assets into their portfolios and refer other new clients.
Forward thinkers look beyond today.
Instead of only focusing on the current economic changes, their projections are based on long-term global trends.
Forward-thinker financial planners have a clear picture of where they want their business to be in the coming years.
They also know the type of clients they hope to work with, and are, therefore, implementing strategies to make that dream a reality.
Successful financial advisors prioritize their work and devise innovative strategies to grow their business in the next 5-10 years.
While building networks is important to increase one’s client base, it’s equally essential to establish connections with other professionals in the field.
Successful advisors spend time with their center of influence, which may include attorneys, CFPs, mortgage professionals, insurance agents, or underwriters.
These are people who can help an advisor grow their business.
When their clients need help with financial services, they refer them, and the advisor also refers their clients to these professionals.
An advisor that’s a star at networking thrives in building and nurturing strong relations.
They also offer holistic financial planning services, since they always consult their center of influence when addressing challenging client issues.
The financial market is sometimes volatile.
Sometimes, the investment strategies recommended don’t meet the set goals.
Other times, clients reach out ready for war.
They might be going through a health scare, a divorce, a job loss, or even a family member’s demise.
It only takes one response to either calm them down or escalate the situation further.
Thus, advisors must always strive to maintain their calm, no matter the situation.
Emotionally stable advisors are cool.
They logically think through situations without being overtaken by the circumstance at hand.
Such advisors own up to their mistakes when they screw up.
They apologize and aim to build healthy advisor-client relationships.