How To Become a Successful Financial Advisor

Process, process, process and leverage. Become a successful financial advisor by managing your time and processes as if your future depends on it (and it does).

It will also help you as you begin to gain traction and win clients. Despite some belief, you will not be given clients to manage despite how excellent your investment track record is.

Instead, you will be expected to acquire clients through various marketing strategies. It will take a resilient personality to achieve this as it can very much be an uphill battle. However, your smart and dedicated process you will have built by reading this article will pave the way for your success as a financial advisor.

Become a Successful Financial Advisor Through Your Prospects

The washout and retention of this field is high for a reason. It requires you to go out and secure business, clients and assets. It can be very challenging and intimidating to go out, build relationships then try to secure their assets and future for you to manage.

How To Become a Successful Financial Advisor

To become a successful financial advisor, your primary marketing techniques will rely on cold-calling and social media marketing to gather business. Do not let anyone tell you that cold-calling is dead or intrusive. If you are genuine about the desire to help people, you need to share your skills and solutions to them. The key difference is having the right information to approach the prospect with.

Seminars, events and referrals are longer term marketing efforts and should be used as an add-on to the former strategies mentioned. We will be adding a more in depth article on cold-calling and social media marketing in the near future.

Choosing the right firm to sign on with

This will take some time for you to research and you should be interviewing with 4-5 different firms at the least.

Some of the larger firms have very detailed, structured and salaries to get you over the hump of building your own business. These firms will pay you and cover the cost of getting you licensed. Your job will be to study for the first few months, pass the test and gear up for production.

The sales hurdles can be challenging and aggressive and is critical you understand them and how you are paid on different types of business and transactions. The larger firms are steering the production hurdles to new clients and fee-based assets. You will most likely be a fiduciary to your clients which means you are acting in their best interest.

An independent firm is a different story and may have different pay structures to compensate you. There may be a very small salary or draw against anything you produce in order to help you while you are building your business.

In either case, make sure you speak to people who were in your shoes and their experiences. Ask questions such as:

  • What is your background in financial services?
  • How do you go about building a business?
  • What do you wish you knew before signing on?
  • What are some of the major challenges you faced and still face?
  • What books or material should I read to improve my skills and improve my success?
  • Are there any other people I should talk to before making a decision?
  • What does a typical day look like for you?
  • Come up with your own questions in addition to this but USE these as a starting point. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.

What to do while you’re studying

Build that list of contacts every day! Add names to a pipeline, their contact information and detailed notes for when you contact them.

The larger firms will have you strictly studying. However, it is important to get a leg up and get the list building process started immediately. You do not want to find yourself falling behind when you receive your production number.


Start developing your day and time management as it will become habit. Know when you are in production, distractions can be one of the fastest derailments you can experience. Leverage your phones calendar, work email calendar or even hand write it if you have to.

A template for your daily schedule

This is a loose template to go by. Of course, you will have to adjust based on commute times and part of the country you reside in. However, this is the template for success.

This is primarily meant for newer or growth oriented advisors that need to focus 90-100% of their time prospecting and filling a pipeline.

0600: Wake up

0615: Light breakfast while reading some market news – Pick one and stick with it

0630: Gym, exercise to get the creative ideas and energy flowing

0730: Shower and get ready to get to work

0800: Arrive, get situated with your coffee tea or water.

0815: Handle any emails NOW, then shut it down for the next few hours (it is a distraction)

0830-1130: Prospecting leveraging your lists that you have built during the study process taking breaks every 15 minutes. Get up walk around, keep the energy levels high and your head clear.

1130-1300: Try to meet some of the other advisors in your office. Introduce yourself and offer to buy a coffee and have the opportunity to pick their brain. This works great for both of you as sometimes they will have clients they cannot service anymore or they can help you close business. Spend this time to also reflect on your early prospecting efforts. What worked? What didn’t work? Make small adjustments to accommodate.

1300 – 1630: Continue prospecting leveraging your lists that you have built during the study process taking breaks every 15 minutes. Get up walk around, keep the energy levels high and your mentality clear.

Prospect later on a few days a week. It is easy to get quickly burned out and you need to ensure you are walking away with a clear head and some prospects in the pipeline. Add successful contacts into your Client Resource Management system and make sure you have the right follow up activity.

Summarize and keep track of your activity

Keep track of your activity daily and summarize it weekly for your own records. This helps keep your spirits and outlook high as you are becoming better with each and every hour you prospect. Leverage a spreadsheet on Microsoft Excel (template will be fine).

You may have read this and think that you are not ready or prepared for any of this. However, if you develop and stick to your process, you will outperform your peers and quickly become a rising star in a very difficult but rewarding field.