Financial planners can encounter some serious challenges in their careers, from maintaining strong client relationships to getting new business. We asked 10 financial planners about the strategies they use to stay on top, so you can learn from their experiences and apply them to your career as well. Here’s what they had to say
1) Spend lots of time reading and learning
Reading and learning is absolutely crucial for long-term success. The more you read, and attend seminars, webinars and other learning opportunities, the better you will be at doing your job. I spend time every day reading blogs like Rockstar Finance as well as books about money management. The more I learn, the better I’m able to service my clients.
2) Network with other professionals in your field/areas of interest
I take networking seriously and do my best to attend at least a few networking events per week. I also have a standing meeting once a month with other financial planners in my area where we talk about issues facing our clients and brainstorm solutions for them. When it comes to staying on top, networking is key!
3) Ask for referrals from past customers, friends & family
People want you to succeed, so if you’ve been a good financial planner for them in one area of their life, they’ll likely be happy—and eager—to send more business your way. To get referrals from past clients, I simply ask for them. For example: Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day today. I really appreciate it. Before we part ways, is there anyone else you can think of who might need help with retirement planning?
4) Know your competition well
My job as a financial planner is to offer you solutions, not simply manage your money. It’s essential that I know what my competition is doing in order to best serve my clients. I’m constantly reading articles and attending seminars hosted by other financial planners; then, I take their advice, study it and adapt it so that it fits with my clients’ needs.
5) Stay current on changes in the financial planning industry
It’s important for financial planners and advisers to be aware of changes that are happening in our industry. It may not seem important, but you don’t want to be caught off guard with information that could affect your business or your clients in a negative way. Instead, you want to keep a pulse on what is changing.
6) Show interest in people, and helping them achieve their goals.
As a financial planner, I’m always asked: Why do you do what you do? For me, it all comes down to my genuine interest in people and helping them achieve their goals. Most of us have had times in our lives when we’ve needed help from someone with expertise. The best planners are like trusted advisors who will help you make good decisions for your future. I know that sounds clichéd, but it really is true.
7) Make sure you have good administrative support.
Good administrative support is essential, says Jim Yanik, CFP and founder of Patriot Wealth Management. Most advisors can probably do their own bookkeeping, but I don’t think anyone can have a successful practice without good office management. Good admin includes scheduling meetings and conference calls, returning phone calls promptly (within hours), maintaining your website and social media sites, filing necessary paperwork and managing your email.
8) Your business reputation is everything!
A solid reputation is paramount for any financial planner. Your clients need you to be credible and reliable, which means keeping your business running smoothly. Here are 10 of my own personal to-dos that help me stay organized, efficient, and professional
9) Get a partner with complementary skills.
Many planners said having a partner or a team in their practice has been helpful. The additional support—whether it’s handling administrative tasks like billing, payroll and taxes or expanding their horizons with a new area of expertise—has helped these financial advisors grow their businesses and stay competitive in today’s financial planning market. : Many planners said having a partner or a team in their practice has been helpful.
10) Emphasizing return on investment vs. budget.
In order to ensure you are getting value for your investment, it’s important that you focus on return. This means that you should be thinking not only about how much a certain service costs, but also whether or not it is bringing in more money than if you didn’t have that service. For example, spending $3,000 a month for marketing will probably bring in more revenue than spending $300 a month for marketing.