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Guest Column Habits of successful financial advisors

Habits of successful financial advisors

Most financial advisors and mutual fund distributors recommend their clients to start investing once they identify their life’s goals. Why should it be any different for the financial advisors?
Amit Trivedi Dec 26, 2017

How do you define success in your advisory business? For that matter, how do you define success for anyone?

The dictionary definition of success is, “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” For me, it is attainment of a desired result of an attempt.

This means, in order to be successful, you must have a purpose or an aim. That is exactly where the successful advisors start – they have a purpose in mind. In line with this purpose, they set goals for their practice.

In fact, most financial advisors and mutual fund distributors recommend their clients to start investing once they identify their life’s goals. Why should it be any different for the financial advisors?

Once you set your goals, you need to work out a plan to achieve these goals. However, your planning may not work out well for you if you do not keep your eyes on it. Also, be open to make changes to your plans as and when needed.

Among some aspiring goals for an advisory business are growth of the practice and creating delight for the clients. In order to achieve these goals, successful advisors look for opportunities to grow. They understand that growth comes from (1) acquisition of new clients, (2) growth in the assets of existing clients, (3) cross-selling and up-selling to the existing clients, and (4) reducing client attrition. For these purposes, they focus on certain activities. These activities include

  • Defining customer profile or finding niche
    • This is a critical step to ensure all the resources are directed in a focused manner. Focusing only on niche would help you gain expertise in understanding requirements, characteristics and certain other common traits of your target audience. This would further help you improve the products, offerings and services to increase business.
  • Prospecting for new clients
    • Ask a simple question to some of the struggling advisors and mutual fund distributors, “How much time do you spend each week actively towards prospecting?” You can guess the answers. The successful advisors understand the importance of prospecting. They set aside some time regularly for planning various prospecting activities.
    • One of the most important prospecting activities successful advisers do is networking. They keep looking for opportunities to network with people that can help them acquire clients. They move around in places and participate in events where they are likely to find their prospects.
  • Upgrading knowledge
    • Successful advisors understand the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” They keep upgrading themselves by reading books and attending training programs and courses. They are focused on what kind of programs they want to attend.
  • Strive for ways to provide delight to the clients
    • Customer delight comes only after satisfaction. There are some very important things that they must do in order to achieve this goal.
      • Empowering their teams to enhance client satisfaction: Many successful advisors operate through a team. The team must be empowered to take decisions without consulting anyone. If the team is not empowered enough, the advisor becomes a bottleneck, which is not just counter-productive for the practice but it lowers the quality of customer service.
      • Investing in technology and processes: Technology plays a big role in modern day financial services business. Invest in the right technology and ensure tasks are automated. Many clients like to get certain reports and updates on a real time basis that you can automate using technology.

This is a small list (and not exhaustive) of activities. Performing these activities is one part and making a habit of doing the activities is a different thing, altogether.

In order to understand this, let us look at the definition of the word “habit”. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. One can convert regular activities through performing these on a regular basis. It requires discipline and perseverance.

Successful advisors make a habit of these habits, such that the activities become almost automatic. For this purpose, they use calendars and reminders very effectively. Put all activities on calendars and set reminders. Such nudges are extremely effective to ensure you form a habit.


Amit Trivedi: These are the author’s personal views. Amit is a leading trainer in the investment markets and is the author of a book “Riding The Roller Coaster – Lessons from financial market cycles we repeatedly forget”.

He can be reached at amit@karmayog-knowledge.com.


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Vishhal Malhotra · 9 months ago
For me Mr Amit your article on "Habits" is a "Thought Provoking" one. Thank you very much. And keep it up with your good work for Distributor community.
Ravisankar · 9 months ago
Good Article. Very useful.Thanks...
Vivek · 9 months ago
Very insightful. Thanks for sharing this Amit ji..
Anil Kumar Grover · 9 months ago
Immensely beneficial. Thanks
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