The first generation of financial planners rarely started out as financial planners; most were initially insurance agents or stockbrokers in the business of selling a product, who later evolved their business to get paid for advice instead (after they already learned how to sell). By contrast, financial planners entering the profession today often come to the table to be paid for their advice from the start, and subsequently struggle due to their lack of business development experience and sales skills.
After all, the reality is that even if someone comes into financial services to be paid for their advice – not the products they sell – it is still necessary to learn how to sell in order to convince potential clients to pay for that advice. Yet unfortunately, relatively little exists in the way of sales training for financial advisors who actually want to be paid for their advice – historically (and still), most “sales training” was/is available from the product firms who train their “advisors” how to sell their products.
Nonetheless, even if they must pursue it on their own, whether by reading, hiring a sales coach, or experience from the “school of hard knocks”, it’s crucial for today’s new advisors to recognize that selling – and developing their sales technique – is an essential skill for success. From being ready to “ask for the business” and “go for the close”, to crafting a sales process, managing a sales pipeline, and monitoring business development metrics – in the end, it doesn’t matter how great your advice actually is if you can’t convince anyone to pay you for that advice in the first place!