Telling people how to properly manage their finances seems like a relatively straightforward job on the surface, but once you start to get into the nuances and subtitles of topics like investment portfolio management, retirement savings, and tax deductions, things can start to get complicated. Being a great financial mentor isn’t just about being able to recall and share knowledge with your clients, it’s about putting yourself in their shoes to determine the best possible course of action. Perhaps more importantly, whether you’re able to retain existing clients will depend on how well you deliver your presentations and the efficacy of your recommendations. With that said, here are 10 tips you can use to become a better financial advisor or mentor:
1. Hone Your Presentation Skills with Coaching Training
The old saying, “it’s not what you say but how you say it,” is certainly true in financial advisory. The fact is, it often takes month or years for a piece of financial advice to be proven true or false. That means that in the short-term, the client’s perception of your advice is even more important than whether the advice is actually useful. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be as accurate and helpful as possible, but it’s important to remember that the way you present your advice is almost as important as the advice itself. Get training in coaching to learn how to pass your advice along successfully.
2. Be a Better Leader
As a financial advisor, you’re always playing a leadership role, whether you know it or not. The problem is, if you don’t think and act like a leader,it won’t come across in your advisory, and clients won’t be as confident in your advice. Projecting an assuring attitude will give the impression that you thoroughly know what you’re doing as opposed to someone who seems shaky or skeptical about the advice they’re giving. Even if you are not 100% certain that your suggestions will result in a financial gain, it’s imperative that you approach each session with the mindset of an infallible leader rather than a speculative companion.
3. Be Personable
Being a good leader is just one half of the battle because you also have to be personable enough to get clients to like you. It’s possible to be a great leader without having excellent 1-on-1 conversational skills. Learn to listen more and ask questions that stir up curiosity and brainstorming during your consultations. How well do you really know your clients? Being an advisor involves building long-lasting business relationships with people, so if you’re not prepared to be a likeable individual, this may not be the career path for you.
4. Specialize in a Specific Financial Niche
Everyone needs financial advice, so no niche is untouchable for a financial advisor. Some financial advisors focus on providing guidance to internet marketers, while others offer advisory to healthcare professionals and clinics. There’s really no limit to the kinds of business structures and investment strategies you can specialize in, so be creative and look for something that provides a decent level of opportunity with minimal competition. Playing the niche card works because many savvier clients don’t just want general advice, they want suggestions that are tailored to their company’s needs and goals.
5. Send Out Routine Follow Ups to Stay Visible
Financial advice is everywhere, and it seems like there are a million ways to find guidance. Staying visible and following up is the best way to break through that sea of competition and remain a factor for your clients and prospects. Use automated email sending apps and services to schedule your follow-up regimen weeks or months in advance. That way, your clients will be hearing from you on a regular basis, even when they’re not in need of mentorship or advice.
6. Be a Better Listener
You’re inevitably going to encounter a percentage of clients who will ramble on and on about their money problems. You may have the natural urge to interrupt with some sage advice, but the better course of action is to give the client time to let it all out and stop naturally. Knowing when to interject will help the flow of the conversation and the client won’t feel like they’re being cut off in the middle of a sentence or thought process. In a way, letting clients fully vent is part of being a great mentor or advisor because it gives you more questions and concerns to respond to when it’s your turn to start speaking.
7. Improve Communication
Whether you’re providing written advice via a digital content platform like an email newsletter or a regularly updated blog, or you’re doing in-person meetings to deliver your mentorship, you’ll need to have a way with words. Fortunately, if you enroll for the coaching training courses mentioned in the first tip on this list, you should learn quite a bit about being a better communicator. You may also want to take some courses on public speaking and business writing.
8. Let the Metrics Speak for You
Many of your clients will not take the time or effort to track their progress in a quantified manner. By taking the initiative to bring that value to the table, you’ll be proving your worth with undeniable stats and figures that speak for themselves. Use graphs and charts to back up your advisory and leverage it even more with analytical follow-ups to show that your advice has been generating positive results.
9. Be a Fact-Based Advisor
Anyone can speculate and give opinions all day, but not many advisors have the analysis and reporting skills to keep their guidance completely fact-based. While there’s always a margin for error, when you stand behind solid statistics and a proven track record of accuracy, you’re more likely to impress clients enough to keep them coming back. You should also use the term “fact-based advisory” in your pitches and presentations to remind clients that you always put results first.
10. Learn How to Reduce the Client’s Stress
Talking about finances can obviously be stressful, especially when you’re in the position of desperately needing guidance from an advisor or mentor. Study conversational stress reduction techniques to learn how to de-escalate your client’s emotional states during consultation. Remember that you’re providing a service that is essentially financial therapy, so clients should leave feeling relieved and less concerned than they were before. This is one of the more subtle parts of being an advisor or mentor, but it’s what separates the pros from the amateurs.
Giving Advice Shouldn’t Be Hard
When you’ve dedicated your career to learning how to become a better money manager, teaching others how to do the same shouldn’t feel like rocket science. Ultimately, your value as an advisor comes not just in the knowledge you bring but also your ability to help each client achieve their individual financial needs.
Many financial advisors will tell you that the hardest year of doing business will be your first because you’ll be getting used to dealing with clients and refining your abilities. Once you’ve established a solid foundational skill set and have a good 1-2 years of experience under your belt, you’ll find that financial advisory will feel like an easy and pleasant job.