Becoming a financial advisor is not for everyone. As you explore this career, you’ll hear ambiguous pros and cons that leave you wondering what you’ll actually be doing with all of your “freedom and flexibility” while you “build your own client base.”
Here at Consolidated Planning, we’ve been developing financial advisors for over 40 years. While every advisor tweaks their routines to suit their style, our most successful advisors have consistently implemented processes to maximize their ability to do their job.
In this article, we’ll pull back the curtain for a behind the scenes look at a day in the life of a financial advisor. You’ll learn how our successful advisors spend their time and by the end you’ll be able to make an informed decision about the next steps in your career.
What Is A Financial Advisor’s Job?
First and foremost, your job as a financial advisor is to help your clients improve their finances. You’ll guide clients to make smart money decisions to improve cash flow, increase savings, and move closer toward major financial goals.
At Consolidated Planning, our work starts with understanding our client’s goals. Getting financially organized is the next step with a clear understanding of what’s important to the client. We use a tool called The Living Balance Sheet (LBS) to organize our client’s financial lives, and our Advisor Performance Group (APG) helps our advisors create personalized LBS sites for clients. APG coaches you through the strategies and recommendations you make to clients to improve your confidence and ensure you are delivering our planning philosophy. Two minds are better than one for the client!
In the initial stages of your career, you’ll spend most of your time onboarding new clients as you establish your client base and your ongoing review and client service model.
But where will you find these clients?
How Do Financial Advisors Prospect?
Financial advisors are constantly looking for new clients.
Yes, even the most successful ones.
We call this activity prospecting. An advisor’s ability to prospect and get in front of potential new clients is the number one determiner of their success.
So, how does an advisor prospect?
Financial advisors find new clients in several key ways:
#1 Natural Market – Your natural market consists of the people you already know. This is your initial market. As you increase your belief about the value of your work, you’ll want to add this value to the people that you know and love the most. (Conversely, if you think that you are just ‘selling’ something as a career, you won’t be motivated to help your natural market.) Therefore, the secret is to really believe in the approach, process and value that you’ll bring to your natural market.
#2 Referrals – A referral is when an existing client or prospect introduces you to someone they know that is in need of your services. Gathering referrals in your business is always necessary. As we’ll see below, target markets are necessary for you to succeed. Once you have established your target market, referrals will be vital within the targeted niche.
#3 Centers Of Influence – A center of influence is another professional whose work compliments your own like a CPA or an attorney. These relationships take time to develop but can be a great source of prospects over time through shared referrals. As you’ll see below, combining centers of influence within your target market can make rocket fuel for finding new clients.
#4 Target Markets: When you are a generalist as a financial advisor, clients can’t tell you apart from the services of another advisor – not from their perspective. However, the more specialized you are with your niche, target market, the more you differentiate. The right target market is pretty much required for success.
Tools and strategies exist to maximize this approach, and the following strategies are the most useful when working in a target market:
- Social Media – Many advisors use social media to share content about the work they do with clients. Advisors that get returns from social media are usually the ones focusing on their target market.
- Seminars/Webinars – Seminars and webinars are an opportunity for advisors to attract prospects interested in a particular topic. Don’t expect much success from these events without a target market strategy.
- Networking – Networking isn’t just shaking hands and kissing babies. Networking is getting involved in your target market. It could be a prior occupation, a group that you’re passionate about (like families who adopt), or affinity groups (such as runners).
Regardless of how an advisor chooses to prospect, at some point, you must take action to move the prospect relationship forward. Your listening and observation skills will be put to the test as you learn to ask questions that build interest and get the meeting.
How Do Financial Advisors Meet With Clients?
Financial advisors meet with clients in person or virtually to guide them through a process involving discovery, solutions, and implementation.
1. Discovery – During the discovery phase, you uncover the client’s needs, wants, and dreams. You’ll also gather all relevant financial data.
2. Solutions – During the solutions phase, you’ll educate the client on their options moving forward and recommend the course of action most likely to help them reach their goals.
3. Implementation – After you’ve educated the client on their options, they’ll make a decision to move forward, and you’ll help them implement their plan.
At Consolidated Planning, our financial advisors meet with clients following a client service model based on our planning process. This is a series of several initial planning meetings followed by ongoing review. We emphasize cash flow and protection throughout the process and utilize a financial scorecard to monitor progress. Keeping track of priorities and scoring progress naturally creates the agenda for future planning.
How Do Financial Advisors Manage Their Time?
Established financial advisors love the flexibility of this career, but flexibility is only made possible through strong time management skills established early in practice.
At Consolidated Planning, we teach our advisors to follow an ideal work week consisting of Focus Days and Buffer Days. The ideal work week follows a 1-3-1 structure with three focus days in the middle of the week and a buffer day at the beginning and end of the week. This structure allows you to maximize your time and accomplish more, while maintaining control.
Your job as a financial advisor is to meet with clients and prospects. Your focus days are where the rubber meets the road and you meet with clients and prospects. You’ll keep 15 appointments over the course of a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
These 15 meetings will be broken down as follows:
● Four new client open meetings
● 4 – 6 existing client planning meetings
● Two center of influence meetings
● Three target market meetings
Focus days should be filled with client and prospect meetings and little else. If you aren’t in front of a client or prospect, then you should probably save it for a buffer day.
Mondays and Fridays are buffer days and allow time for administrative work, learning, and catching up. Buffer days will enable you to have focus days. Anything you need to do that isn’t client facing should happen on a buffer day.
Maintaining a 1-3-1 ideal work week requires discipline. This discipline is best established early in your career to prevent unnecessary growing pains.
40 Hard Weeks of Work
Balance in life is important, and some weeks and some days are quite different. We encourage advisors to work hard with the 1-3-1 structure above for 40 weeks during the year, and spend 12 weeks during the year that are less intense.
These 12 weeks might be personal days, vacation days, training events that span more than a day, or holiday weeks (like July 4th week). It’s hard, if not impossible, to keep up the 1-3-1 structure during these 12 weeks, and down time is important!
Is A Career As A Financial Advisor Right For You?
A career as a financial advisor provides unlimited opportunity for the right individual. For others, it’s a bad fit that can become a stress-filled nightmare. The robust advisor resources at Consolidated Planning help to tip the scales in favor of the advisor.
Now that you’ve seen inside a day in the life of a financial advisor, is this career right for you?
Financial advisors need to have the heart of a teacher to guide clients toward making better money decisions. Financial advisors need the mindset of an entrepreneur to market and grow their practice. Financial advisors need strong time management skills and the discipline to follow the plan and build good habits from day one.
If becoming a financial advisor sounds like the right choice for you, reach out to our team to receive a copy of our practice building playbook. If you’re still unsure, check out this article about why financial advisors fail.
2022-145204 Exp. 10/24
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