By Karma Forrestal, CFP®, Forum Partner

When I first started as an advisor, there were a lot of unknowns. Two unknowns that would keep me up at night were how I would bring on new clients and how I would convey to these clients that I was a financial advisor who cared enough to help them stay the course. With every new client relationship, I grew to understand that celebrating good times (and major milestones) was as important as being there to support them during bad times (and bad markets).

If I could tell my former self anything about how to navigate those early years as an advisor, I would share the following sage advice:

  • Have confidence in yourself! Do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable with a prospect. Practicing in a mirror to see and hear yourself speaking will really help, especially if you are trying to explain a complex subject like your investment philosophy.
  • Self-reflect on your strengths and weaknesses but don’t have an ego. Use your strengths and work on the weaknesses because both will make you more successful.
  • Be diligent about documenting your notes for prospects and clients.
    Spend time working on professional relationships that can become referral sources. Attorneys and CPAs will be extremely valuable connections.
  • You won’t be a good fit for all prospects — accept that as fact but don’t take it personally. Instead, reflect on those interactions and learn from what you could have done better (or did exactly right).
  • Don’t forget that this is a numbers game. The more people you connect with and talk to, the more prospects you will encounter. Begin to recognize who the “connectors” are in your world and which clients get a thrill out of connecting with other people.

Finally, I think it is important to acknowledge that being an advisor can be stressful. Find the personal stress release techniques that work for you and make sure you spend time focusing on your personal well-being. Exercise is a huge stress release for me as is listening to music in a dark room with candles lit or the fireplace blazing. You have to be gracious to yourself because this life is rewarding but also demands more of you than your typical 9 to 5.


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