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The Top Six Things Every New Advisor Should Know

New advisors often ask their more experienced counterparts about bad advice they were given throughout their professional journey in the hopes of avoiding the same mistakes. Instead of teaching them about ill-advised information, I have found it more valuable to shine light on the positive guidance that led to my success. To help you lead those new advisors through the complexities of the financial industry, I've identified the top six things every new agent should know.


1. Get a Mentor

It’s important to connect with an experienced and credible professional in the business who is willing to provide you with information and resources to help you better serve your clients. A mentor not only gives you guidance as you launch your career, but a mentor also can be a valuable resource for advice every step of the way. If you are looking for a mentor, the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Mentoring Program gives aspiring agents the opportunity to be mentored by a veteran MDRT member. You will learn how to enhance your productivity, elevate your service capabilities and gain motivational insight to reach your goals.


2. Find Your Niche

Once you identify the practice area in which you enjoy working, make sure you become an expert in that field. It is better to specialize in one thing and be very good at it than to be mediocre by trying to do everything.

Begin by identifying a target clientele, which leads to developing a unique expertise for working with those clients and the problems they face. This in turn leads to developing services and a business model to fit these clients and their needs. To find what niche fits you best, focus on what you’re passionate about or an area where you already have connections.


3. Write Joint Work

Although it helps to be an expert in one area, it’s also important to have a network of qualified professionals in other specialties to learn from, direct clients to and potentially work with. If you make a partnership such as this, those professionals also may come to you for help in your area of expertise. Find a professional in the financial industry who has a different practice area than you and who is considered the best in that area. For example, if you don’t focus on retirement planning, connect with someone who is an expert in that area. Partnering with professionals who vary in expertise is a great way to gain exposure and experience in many different financial markets. If you’re not sure with whom you should partner, ask a credible source in the industry for a recommendation.


4. Join a Professional Organization

Becoming a member in an association such as MDRT is one of the greatest ways to learn from other advisors. You not only share ideas and strengthen ways to do business, but you are also challenged to attain even higher levels of success. An additional benefit to becoming a member of a financial association is the stature and assurance you gain by being with some of the greatest leaders in the industry. The amount of knowledge you receive is immeasurable.


5. Sharpen the Ax

It takes time to develop your technique, learn to interact with clients and understand the technical details about products/services. I highly encourage you to attend at least one to two conferences each year and try to take at least two new pieces of knowledge away from each meeting. Consistently work on new certifications and renewals to keep yourself educated in your practice area. Consider enrolling  in continuing education classes that are relevant to your practice area and have a practical application to help you with your certifications. 


6. Track Everything

It’s important to know how many people you saw last year, where a lead originated, what your closing ratio was, etc. All these tracking points can help you develop a more effective marketing plan, set goals and monitor the pulse of your success. You also will learn where your best leads came from so you can go back to them if you identify new opportunities that would be a similar fit.

These top six things have led me to a better lifestyle and greater success than I ever could have imagined. It all starts with getting out of your comfort zone and continuously evaluating your business to identify where you can be more efficient. If you are an aspiring advisor, I recommend looking for ways to improve your daily routine, working on areas to reinvent procedures and trying new ways to reach clients.

Danny O’Connell is CEO of Next Level Insurance Agency, a Dallas-based agency specializing in employee benefits, executive benefits and retirement. Danny may be contacted at [email protected] danny.o'[email protected].

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