As you may already know, I’m a financial advisor by day. While I never discuss my business on this blog, from time to time I give updates about my career evolution. This is why I get several emails from young men and women looking to start their career in this field. In a very few years, I was able to rank among the top performers at work. In my opinion, I don’t do anything extraordinary; I just try to do my job properly. However, there are a few things that I do that most advisors don’t. This is why I decided to share some of my tricks if you want to start your career in the financial industry.
I’ll tell you one thing; both employers and clients LOVE titles. They are synonyms of knowledge and professionalism. Two competencies appreciated by your future employers and your future clients. In a world where everybody claims to be THE expert, titles will make a difference in order to prove yourself. Having a CFP title  on top of an MBA  boosted my credibility. While the latter has nothing to do with my job, the CFP title is a must in my opinion. It gives me the tools needed to make a complete analysis.
I hate to be sold and you probably hate it too. So would it be so different for a potential client? The difference is that everybody loves to buy. And this is what you need to do. How can you have people buy YOU? (‘cause they are not buying your products or your banner, they first buy into the individual). It’s quite easy to make people buy something; you just have to not sell ;-). What I’m saying is that it is inappropriate to shove the document down the client’s throat to make him sign. Don’t be insistent and tell your clients that they can think about it. Trust me, I used to push a little bit harder on my clients and since learned my lesson. They were signing upfront (I even closed deals on first appointment and within 35 minutes!). But then, I had to meet the clients 2-3 times over the next couple of months because they had more questions. I did this for the first 6 months of my career and have completely stopped. I now let clients think about it and schedule a second and third meeting. They usually sign on the second meeting but they are convinced and happy at that time and they don’t call me back for further “insecurity” questions 2 weeks later ;-). People simply appreciate a pressure free environment.
Are you about to offer a high MER solution to your clients? Or you know that there is a disadvantage in your strategy (nothing is perfect by the way, so there are flaws attached to each investing or financing solution)? Then tell your clients upfront!
I always tell my clients the advantages as well as the disadvantages of each strategy. I also tell them if I make more money with one or the other. Clients appreciate this transparency a lot and they understand that you work for them and not for your pocket.
Talk about needs and not stats
I’ll tell you upfront: most clients don’t care about the beta, about the GDP or about the tactical deviation. The numbers as well as long and sophisticated financial terms bore them. However, they are interested in retiring at 60, or having a “bulletproof” portfolio or saving taxes. And most of them don’t really like knowing the technical side (I always provide them with the technical but never focus on it). I give them 2 documents: One thick and detailed document explaining the technical (and I mention that this is for a rainy Sunday) and another with 5 pages that outline the main benefits of the strategy.
People care about their needs and seek benefits. They don’t care about numbers and definitions.
I’d say that the name of my success is “follow-up”. When a client signs with you, you just don’t close a sale; you enter into a relationship. And this relationship needs to be taken care of by both sides. Don’t wait for your client to call you and ask questions when the market is bad. Call them; send them a newsletter, book follow-up appointments.
A good presentation will get you the deal signed. A good follow-up method will get references which will lead to even more deals signed. And there is nothing easier to close than a warm reference from a satisfied client!
Sir, do you have 45 minutes for a great financial advice?
Dear young advisors or financial advisors to-be, I want to leave you with one last trick. This has been one of my most successful tricks to get an appointment: calling a client and asking him if he has 45 minutes to meet with me in exchange for great financial advice. It’s free and it doesn’t cost anything else but 45 minutes of his life to improve his personal finances forever. Sometimes you can give a major advice that will literally change someone’s financial life while others will get good advice that worth’s thinking about. But I have yet to face someone that I couldn’t improve their finance one way or another.
If you have any questions about getting a job in the financial industry or how to answer interview questions, please comment on this post!