Top 7 Skills for a Financial Advisor to Have

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On your journey to becoming a financial advisor or agent, you’ve likely gone to school and sat through rigorous licensing exams. Maybe you were inspired by a relative or a financial professional in your community, or perhaps you were driven by a desire for helping others. Whatever their journeys look like, top advisors tend to share a few of the same traits.

Being a “good” financial professional is subjective and can come down to simple personality traits. What one client considers good may be vastly different from another’s definition, and that’s okay! Different people have different needs, so their advisors should be different, too. But we’ve found that top advisors have at least some of the following skills:

1. Relatability

This is the basic fact of the industry: a good financial advisor is a helpful financial advisor. Regardless of all other skills, one becomes helpful through empathy, being able to relate to your clients and their financial needs.

The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their feelings is paramount for financial advisors and agents. Your clients may have a lot of fear and anxiety when it comes to their money and their future, and it’s important that you understand those concerns. Otherwise, you’re just a clerk shuffling money from one pair of hands to another. Relatability separates you from the pack and establishes all credibility which follows.

2. Trustworthiness

You should be genuine and authentic in everything you do to help your clients. If your clients get the feeling that you don’t truly care for them, they may be reluctant to share their lives – and their business – with you. Authenticity often involves being open about your own shortcomings and failures, which is why many people struggle with it. But it is also about truly enjoying the work you do.

This one should not come as a surprise to you. Some people consider financial professionals to be as untrustworthy as lawyers, which can be a big problem when trying to attract new prospects. The key is here is simple: be honest. This means being transparent with your clients about the risks they may face and not hiding from them when they ask tough questions. This goes hand in hand with authenticity. 

Feel empowered to walk your clients through the process, both from a general perspective and at each step. This way, clients will be involved in their planning and better understand your approach — they’ll trust you more if they see where you’re coming from.

3. Staying Ahead of Trends

Top financial advisors and agents are always on the hunt for new knowledge. Whether that means pursuing further education outside of their license requirements or simply staying up to date on the latest marketing and investment trends, you should never stop learning. 

To help financial advisors stay abreast and ahead of new trends, Impact hosts educational events throughout the year. In fact, we recently hosted our annual Marketing Summit, a space for financial advisors and their marketing teams to learn about our practices. It’s a great place to learn about upcoming trends, how to identify them in your own market, and take advantage to help broaden and grow your practice. You can read our recap here and see how Marketing Summit can help you stay ahead of the curve!

4. Adopting CEO Mindset

It’s common knowledge that adopting the right mindset helps a financial advisor establish positive habits, maintain productive routines, and, over time, change your actions from the rote and ineffective to mindful and effective. In a business context, this means adapting one’s mindset to a growth-focused, CEO-type foundation.

Having a growth mindset means you believe your talents and abilities can be developed through hard work (and other factors). Focusing your aims on a constructive mindset also focuses your behavior, altering outcomes for the better. And it’s no wonder – if you genuinely believe that your aspirations are attainable provided you put in the work, what could possibly stand in your way?

Like our Marketing Summit, Impact also hosts Practice Builder events where top advisors from all across the country come in to hone their practices and listen to fellow successful advisors outline their keys to success. Financial advisors can hear directly from their fellow top advisors about best behaviors and ways to put good ideas into action. Our recap is here; you can also explore the same ideas about working on your business versus working in your business in our helpful Sales Playbook series.

5. Experience

An experienced financial advisor exudes confidence and knowledge. Experience means a professional is at the helm, calm and steady not only when things are fine, but especially when the markets are chaotic and unpredictable. Further still, a shaky, inexperienced advisor doesn’t project confidence and resolve. Would you trust your retirement with an advisor who seems inexperienced or unprepared? Probably not. But a seasoned advisor who’s seen the ups and the downs, and dealt with both? Most likely.

Learn to emphasize your veteran experience in the financial industry. Many of our top financial advisors make no secret of the fact that they’ve been here a while. With this, be confident in your own experience; people trust you with their retirements because you’re the professional!

6. Responsiveness

Top financial advisors and agents – and professionals in general – are of course dedicated to what they do. You often cannot be successful at something you attempt only half-heartedly; you need to give it all you’ve got to reach the top. In this case, a dedication to your clients’ success as well as your own will show that you care about more than money.

Responsiveness relates to both punctuality and thoughtfulness. Respond promptly but professionally to your clients’ queries. Be attentive and mindful with your responses — don’t just dash off a formulaic paragraph. Keep in mind: they’re why you’re doing this job in the first place. Maintaining a regular correspondence with your clients develops that trust we talked about earlier, and also keeps you top of mind. If you’re not nurturing your clients, the competition will, so stay in touch!

7. Proactive Instinct

Being proactive is a top concern for many clients when it comes to their money. They want to know that you’ll go the extra mile to help protect their savings before disaster strikes. It’s about more than money management – people like having their needs anticipated.

A proactive instinct comes with experience — since you’ve seen these events before, you know how to deal with them when you see their approach. Developing and reinforcing confidence in your instincts will show clients that you know the ropes.

At the end of the day, you don’t have to possess all of these qualities perfectly. What matters most is a passion for helping people and always working to improve your “soft” skills.


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Stephen Odom, CEO of The Impact Partnership


Chief Executive Officer

Stephen started in the insurance marketing business in 2001 as a new business consultant. In 2002 he was promoted to Director of Sales and built a 200 million book of business from scratch. By 2005, he was one of the top wholesalers in the country, working with some of the top financial advisors and insurance agents across the USA. In 2008, Stephen was promoted to Co-President of one of the largest IMOs in the country.

In 2011, Stephen continued his entrepreneurship path and co-founded The Impact Partnership, an INC 5000 company. Stephen is responsible for the strategic vision of Impact and is laser-focused on creating a culture of growth for both internal teammates and our amazing customers.

Stephen lives in Kennesaw, GA, with his wife of more than 20 years, Kendra. They are blessed with three beautiful children Katie, Tyler, Anna Brooke, and Laya, their German Shepherd and Luna, their BernieDoodle.