If you are hungry for success, you are always asking yourself the question: What are the top advisors doing? With the market in disarray, and affluent investor confidence in the financial services industry dashed, this question has become even more important.
Over the past 18 months, I've watched an elite cadre of advisors, both solo practitioners and teams, successfully convince highly skeptical affluent investors, with anywhere between $1.5 million and $50 million in assets under management, to transfer their family assets to them. In each of these cases, the new clients came from other financial advisors who were simply not meeting expectations. But our top advisors had to go out and find these clients — the clients weren't calling them.
So what sets these top professionals apart? Quite a lot. If you want to learn from today's best advisors, you better roll up your sleeves and prepare to work, and expect that much of this toil will pull you outside of your comfort zone. Our research on both affluent investors and top advisors and teams has enabled us to create two parallel tracks. We know what the affluent want in a financial advisor and we know what the elite in the industry are doing in today's challenging environment. Although it shouldn't come as a surprise, it's amazing how well aligned the practices of top advisors are with what today's affluent investor wants.
Let me outline five qualities that we have found today's top advisors share in common.
The Fabulous Five
- Life-Long Learner: Guiding and advising affluent families through this continuing financial crisis requires a great breadth of knowledge — about the product marketplace, new investing ideas, laws governing estates, taxes and trusts, among many other things. Elite advisors are true knowledge workers with open minds, allowing them to craft the most sophisticated recovery strategies available to their clients.
- Attention to detail: There's a silly myth that leaders don't concern themselves with the details. Just because they're master delegators doesn't mean that they don't invest the time and energy to make certain there is meticulous execution. They do! This attention to detail is essential for vetting outside experts and providing comprehensive wealth management.
- Belief without proof: The ability to remain goal focused in times of crisis, making the necessary decisions under pressure, is not for the faint of heart. The average advisor wants proof (when is the market going to turn?); top advisors look into their crystal ball and see opportunities. They see the glass half-full; as a result they're adept at solving problems for clients and prospects, which enables them to continue to grow during these tough times.
- Positive Energy: Elite advisors understand the importance of maintaining balance in their lives. They pay close attention to their mental and physical health. They don't harbor unnecessary stress and are typically quite active. They are also very family focused. As a result, they are calm and confident under pressure — they exude positive energy.
- Inspire and direct: Top advisors are leaders. Like all strong leaders, they have superb communication skills, which, in effect, are masterful sales skills. Today's best advisors are masters at inspiring and directing fellow team members, clients, prospects, referral alliance partners, and anyone they come into contact with. They are masterful sales people with skills so refined that they are almost invisible. And they are always selling!
Considering the above, it should come as no surprise that today's best advisors have excellent reputations and make very positive first impressions. Mirror these qualities and you too can capitalize on the opportunities of today. Believe me, opportunity abounds.
is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients.oechsli.com