What sets apart the best performing financial advisers from the ones who can’t make the cut?
Designations, technical knowledge, systems, and processes are all important. However, there are several key characteristics that I see in the most successful financial advisers. Here they are:
1. They’re self-disciplined.
Discipline is the difference between failure and success. Most people don’t fail because they don’t know how to do something. After all, professional skills can be learned. Marketing ideas can be learned. Prospecting techniques can be learned.
People fail because they aren’t willing to do what it takes to succeed.
The successful financial advisers are the ones who are disciplined enough to take action even when they don’t want to. They focus their time and energy on what has to get done, without procrastinating. Self-discipline is the art of passing up a little short-term pleasure in exchange for long-term gain.
2. They genuinely care.
You can’t fake caring.
One universal truth in sales is that people buy from other people they like. The big secret is that if you genuinely care about people, it’s hard for them not to like you. All else being equal, the more like-able person will win the business.
A successful career is built around clients who know that you care about them and realize that your top priority is their gain, not yours. Caring is the genuine desire to understand other people and create positive outcomes for them.
But desire isn’t enough. You must show people that you care by repeatedly doing stuff that benefits your prospects and clients. That means you continue caring after the sale is made, too.
3. They take initiative.
You will not succeed by waiting. You have to take initiative.
Your dream clients will not magically ring your phone or send you an e-mail requesting help… at least not most of the time, even with an inbound marketing machine.
Initiative is only hard at first – once you get started, you will have momentum on your side. Newton’s first last or motion says that an object tends to remain at rest, and an object in motion remains in motion – unless either is acted upon by an external force. Your prospects are at rest, and will continue doing what they’re doing (not doing business with you) unless you become the external force acting upon them.
If you don’t take the initiative, someone else will, and they’ll steal market share from you.
4. They’re optimistic.
Deep down, I’ve always thought that the positive-thinking books and tapes were kind of cheesy. What difference does positive thinking make?
A BIG difference!
That’s why I talk about optimism in great detail in how to keep your clients.
I put this characteristic right after “they take initiative” because they go together so well. If you’re a negative thinker, your pessimism will kill your initiative. After all, if your prospect has already said no two times, what’s the point of calling again? The pessimistic thinker will assume, once again, that he/she will be rejected.
Pessimism is the thief of dreams. It seduces you into making excuses, rationalizes your decisions, and absolves you of any responsibility. It shields and protects your ego, but at the cost of success.
Optimism will thrust you towards success. If you’re an optimist, you believe that things will work out for the best, and if you believe this, it becomes much easier to take the actions necessary to get more clients and build your book of business.
5. They’re persistent.
Optimism gives you the power to persist – see how these traits are coming together?
My favorite book of all time is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and the chapter on persistence is my favorite chapter. Yet, I never really took the time to understand what persistence really means.
What comes to your mind when you see the word “persistent”? If you’re anything like I was, you think it means taking action for long periods of time.
Here is the definition: persistence is the firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
That means there WILL be difficulty or opposition! You can’t be persistent without it.
Persistence is NOT taking the same mediocre actions every day. By definition, there HAS to be some form of difficulty, so when I say that the best financial advisers are persistent, I don’t mean that they prospect every day (although that helps). I mean that they encounter difficulty or opposition and continue in their course of action anyway.
* Originally published by James Pollard.