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Advice for the Career Change Advisor

How to make the most out of your prior profession.

We often get calls from advisors wanting to know how to leverage their prior profession in growing their budding financial services practice. Many of these advisors have significant prior experience, so it’s a natural question to ask. We look at this in two parts:

1. Develop a "Bridge"

Before reaching out to contacts from your prior career, it’s worth putting some energy into crafting your message. The question on their mind will be “Why did they leave? They couldn’t hack it as an attorney?” When we say crafting a “bridge,” we mean establishing a connection between something in your personal history that both led you to and equipped you to become a financial advisor. This could have been something skills-related like the training and lessons learned from your prior job. Or it could be a personal reason why you chose this industry and will excel in it. Let the following list guide your brainstorming—everyone has a bridge:

  • Are there unique financial issues in your previous industry that only an insider would know?
  • What instilled your passion about personal finance?
  • What was your prior experience in working with a financial advisor (good or bad)?
  • Do you have relevant skills from your prior job?
  • Do you have prior experience in managing your own money?
  • Do you have a family member that had problems with money? 

Spend time crafting a compelling “bridge.” Also, include a written version in your social media profiles. 

2. Make Proactive Contacts 

Now that you’ve got a compelling bridge in hand, you’re ready to start reaching out to prior connections. Let’s first think about who you might want to reach out to:

  • Former colleagues—They know you well and are often open to a meeting.
  • Former clients and vendors—They did business with you once; why not again?
  • Others in the same industry—You know the financial issues they face; now you’re an insider.

On one end of the assertiveness spectrum, you could call all of these people and let them know you’d like to be their financial advisor. Will this work? Sometimes, but not often. We find that it works best when you re-establish the connection, make them aware of your new profession, catch up on old times and share your “bridge” over coffee or lunch.  

You should be going into this approach with great confidence. You’re a knowledgeable, well-qualified advisor, with solid relationships, who knows the opportunities and challenges better than anyone. 

Bonus strategy: Send an occasional basket of goodies to your old stomping grounds. It’s memorable and generates buzz!

@StephenBoswell is President of The Oechsli Institute and author of Best Practices of Elite Advisors. @KevinANichols is the Chief Operating Officer for The Oechsli Institute and author of The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors.


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