by I can remember my advisor training at the wire house. The deluge of information coming at me felt more like a train wreck ready to happen than training.
Why did the trainers always seem nervous and in a rush? The answer was simple.
Less than 10 out of the 30 advisors would succeed as a financial advisor.
Has the situation changed much over the years. Not according to a practice manager I recently spoke to at a wire house who was still struggling with 70% dropouts.
I wasn’t a kid going into the advisor trainee program. My previous experience spanned two entrepreneurial careers, Music Education, and Consulting complete with a Masters degree. Relationship building was always a strength for me. A required skill for the success of a business owner.
Coming from an arts background, added a layer of complexity because the financial language had to be learned. I worked hard. 12 plus hour days.
I was in the board room at 7.30 AM with my fellow new financial Advisors for a pep talk meeting from our branch manger and the cold calling began. Pizza night meant that cold calling would continue from 6.00PM on.
After hundreds of calls I started to schedule meetings which would later define my career.
I was a nervous wreck at my first discovery meeting.
You see the first appointment was with a Doctor, who was terribly unorganized. He literally dumped a shopping bag of investment statements, insurance contracts, estate planning documents on the conference room table and asked- what do you think?
With all the training, I still wasn’t prepared. Training was more about mastering the pitch, pushing the product, than mastering the art of conversation.
Today my conversations are values-based, with a lot of touchy- feely questions. i.e. Tell me what money was like growing up? Must be because of my arts background. It just comes oozing out, and for me it works.
The opposite end of the spectrum is initially focusing too much on the planning software data gathering form questions. This is a bad practice, because if you think about it, what’s the best way to get the data for the software? Is it asking question after question? This is not a conversation. This is an interrogation. A better way is to have an impactful conversation, where the information is part of an organic exchange.
It’s a shame there is so much confusion in this area because 77% of advisors say that the greatest stumbling block to financial planning is the financial planning software. So why do many broker dealers place so much emphasis on planning software before the conversation has been mastered. To me it doesn’t make sense.
For the newly minted financial advisor, I would love to see more time spent in helping them quickly lead confident and productive planning conversations.