Being an expert in insurance products is only part the story when it comes to being a successful adviser, says Ryan Edwards, managing director of The Adviser Platform.
“What makes a successful adviser is good communication skills, engaging with people to create interest, and exploring each client’s drivers and motivations, so the adviser can understand which solutions will solve their problems,” says Edwards.
“We are in the problem-solving industry. An adviser’s job is to understand the client’s goals and detail how a certain product can meet their needs.”
Edwards says a successful adviser also needs to be a good educator, so their clients understand why products are being recommended to them.
“Gone are the days when it was just a pure sales process, and that’s a good thing,” says Edwards.
“People who receive advice they understand and comprehend are a lot more engaged, they generally stick with the products that have been put in place for them for a lot longer, and they also understand why they have them and how they solve their problem.”
Communication skills is one of the key things the tutors who run The Adviser Platform’s Adviser Academy look for in its trainee financial advisers. In the academy’s last intake were a pilot, a real estate agent, and a marine sales consultant.
“Among the skill set a successful adviser will have includes being comfortable talking to people,” says Edwards. “You can teach a good communicator how to talk about different products, but a product expert may not enjoy the human side of meeting people. If you can’t engage with people, build rapport, and create engagement…Then you can be the best product expert in the world but people won’t listen to you.
Among the skill set a successful adviser will have includes being comfortable talking to people…
“Our training goes well beyond that, it’s really around the key activities, behaviours and drivers that advisers need to master in order to be successful.”
Resilience is another quality an adviser needs, says Edwards.
“Being a financial adviser can be a lonely pursuit sometimes as they often work alone – for yourself and by yourself,” he says.
“The other thing advisers need to understand is where their strengths and weaknesses are so, they appreciate the importance of growing and scaling their business and running their business properly. The industry is a good fit for some and not for others.”
His advice to those entering the industry is to be prepared for a steep learning curve as their business builds.
“There are huge upsides to being a financial adviser, but it is rarely an overnight success,” he says. “New advisers need to take a medium to long-term view, and that comes back to being reliant while the business is built.
“The industry has matured now, regulation has come in, and so it is not as straightforward as jumping in with no support and making a go of it.”