Working as a financial advisor is one of the highest ranked business careers according to a recent U.S. News & World report, advisors rating it highly for job satisfaction and prospects. As a financial advisor you can make a real difference to your clients’ lives, making this a rewarding profession to aim for.But if you want to be a financial advisor, you need to have two quite distinct skill sets.Firstly, you’ll need to pass the relevant industry exams. Financial acumen is a must.Secondly, and indeed more importantly, you should have a real desire to help people and have an ability to understand their goals and concerns. A much larger percentage of a financial advisor’s job is based around Emotional Intelligence (EQ) than IQ. Like a great teacher or coach, financial advisors must have the ability to listen, explain complex ideas in easy-to-understand ways, and empathize with clients.At the beginning of their career, many advisors feel they lack the important interpersonal skills that are so essential to their progress. That’s why it’s essential to dedicate time to improving their soft skills.Here are a few things you need to do extraordinarily well if you want to succeed as a Financial Advisor.
Become a good conversationalist
The ability to develop rapport with people is at the heart of this business and as human beings we develop relationships via conversation. So, advisors need to develop their conversational skills.This doesn’t involve simply talking but remembering to ask open-ended questions
, maintaining good eye contact, and listening more than you speak. Listening intently indicates your interest in others – plus, if you don’t listen you won’t learn anything important.Related: 7 Things Many Advisors Don’t Do and Fail as a Result
Become a good storyteller
Stories and analogies are great ways to establish meaningful connections with others. People make decisions based on their emotions and stories stir emotions. Stories are also effective at making the unfamiliar familiar.New advisors often suffer from the ‘curse of knowledge’
and bring too much technical talk into the conversation. This makes listeners feel disconnected and confused. Telling simple stories can help present topics in ‘word pictures’ that are clearly understood, resonate, and get acted upon.Stories also make ideas and messages memorable and can also help others understand ‘who you are’ and what your mission is. If you can develop a narrative about yourself that convinces prospects you are an authentic person and truly want to help them, you stand a good chance of winning their business.
Learn to cope with rejection
As human beings, we are hard-wired to fear rejection. When someone says ‘no’ we often take it personally. Rejection, however, is an inescapable aspect of this profession so it’s essential to develop coping mechanisms early on. Over time you will develop a tougher mindset and find it easier to quickly move on from a negative response.To make the first step toward overcoming your fear of rejection
, here’s a simple exercise to try: Actively seek out situations in your daily life where there’s a high possibility of being rejected.For example, if you’re at the car wash, ask for a free air freshener. When you’re checking into a hotel, ask for an upgrade. At a restaurant ask for a better table. And so on. You will inevitably encounter rejection at least some of the time, but by facing it down many times over, you’ll start to become immune. Plus, you may even end up with some ‘freebies’ into the bargain.If you want to be a financial advisor whom clients flock to, you’ll have to put in lots of hard work
– especially if soft, interpersonal skills are not your strong point. It’s often difficult for new advisors who have spent years in an academic environment to suddenly get tasked with presenting information to people with little financial knowledge. Being able to communicate in the right way, at the right level is a challenge but one well worth perfecting, the end-goal being a satisfying career to enjoy for the long term.