Newport Beach: “How did you grow so fast so quickly?” asked a recent workshop participant to one of his firm’s top producers. The top producer, less than 40 years old, claimed it was one part financial crisis and two parts grinding it out – a cocktail that anyone can replicate. When asked which marketing tactics worked best, the top producer said he’s tried everything – cold calling, intimate events, seminars, CPA alliances, and plenty of others. The secret, he said, was doing these activities until you see results.

Welcome to the world of the elite. A small cadre of elite new advisors, 2.4% to be exact, do the right activities the right way and are seeing phenomenal results. This elite group brought in 10 or more $1m+ clients last year, with some bringing in far more. By comparison, the rest of the industry seems paralyzed.


Your goals may differ from our benchmark of 10 or more new $1m+ clients, but the recipe for reaching these goals remains the same. In our many years of research and countless coaching assignments we’ve found four commonalities amongst elite advisors. These commonalities separate the elite from the "pretty good". We’ve created the following self-assessment to help you think critically about your current efforts. Are you the next big thing…or destined for mediocrity?

There's a tendency for newer advisors to assume they have these traits. After all, they must succeed in order to enjoy a career as a financial advisor. However, it's been our experience that this assumption should never be made. So use this quick assessment as an honest look to help you stay on course.

Four Traits of Elite Performers:

Ambitious
Elite advisors are ambitious, but so are plenty of average advisors. The difference is that elite advisors have a clear and measurable goal focus linked to their ambition – they hold themselves accountable to a structured timeline.

New Advisor Check-up:

1) Is your ambition as strong today as the day you started the business?

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2) Where do you want to be 5 years from now – personally and professionally?

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3) When is the last time you’ve written your goals or shared them with a friend?

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Disciplined
The most effective marketing activities aren’t all that hard to find (stay tuned to our newsletter), but knowing the right activities is only 10% of the battle. The challenge for most is being consistent, focused, and disciplined long enough to see results. Note the comments of the elite new advisor referenced earlier – staying with activities until they work.

New Advisor Check-up:

1) What time do you get started in the morning? Has this changed?

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2) When have you set aside time for marketing? Are you sticking to it?

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3) Who is the most disciplined person you know? Can you match their routine?

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Self-Aware
Elite advisors are very self-critical, far more so than the average advisor. The average advisor is very defensive about his or her weaknesses, but the elite of our industry are always looking for ways to improve.

New Advisor Check-up:

1) What are 2-3 core areas you know you need to improve?

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2) Thinking about the most successful newer advisor you know, what’s different about your approaches to growing the business?

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3) Who in your life can provide honest feedback? When is the last time you solicited their feedback?

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Deliberate in Practice
There’s a lot of noise in the industry about playing to your strengths, doing only what you’re good at, and delegating the rest. This simply isn’t the case for elite performers. Elite performers recognize performance-specific weaknesses and take action to correct them. Their goal is to be well-balanced, knowing that any strength over-utilized becomes a weakness.

New Advisor Check-up:

1) How do you practice your sales skills?

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2) What is your plan for self-improvement and ongoing learning?

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3) What are you currently reading? (Hint: not People or other junk food of the mind)

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Let it be known that many traits formerly associated with being a great advisor have been proven false. With so much misinformation being spread (typically by plateaued veterans), it’s important to shield yourself from the idea that new advisors must come into the business being well-connected, with a “type-A” personality, and live in a big city to have any chance of success. These are all myths.

  Advising is an equal opportunity employer - as long as you embody the four traits of elite performers. Take the challenge – become the “next big thing” at your firm.

As most of you have encountered already, it won’t be easy. Ask any successful veteran advisor how many hours they worked a week during their first few years in the business. You’ll probably get a chuckle and some form of “too many” as a response. They fought tooth and nail to get to where they are today.

Advising is not a career for the weak or timid. But if you’re looking for a long-term, lucrative, and enjoyable career, you’re in the right place.