Financial advisor

6 characteristics of a great financial advisor

Very few people could claim to be born a great financial advisor. Most of the industry’s top brokers are weathered, experienced professionals who have learned their skills through years of hard work. In this morning’s post I’ll take you through some of the things I’ve learnt and how you can apply them to drive your success in this tough, but fun career we have chosen.

The most important traits of a successful financial advisor:


the ability to DEEPLY understand a client’s needs comes from knowing how to ask thoughtful, probing questions that interrogate and reveal the client’s desires and intentions. It’s borne from a GENUINE interest in your client’s wellbeing and it is driven by an intense curiosity to discover all the small pieces that cause the problem and to create a solution that resolves that problem.


is not ‘general knowledge’, it takes ongoing professional development and education to stay ahead of your competition and get your clients’ attention. The kind of expertise required to be highly successful, is not easily learned, it is bred through being passionate about your subject. Passion drives you to understand legislation, processes, products and standards thoroughly, in an ever-changing environment; it’s keeps you at the front.


the ability to understand where a client wants to go, and to devise an effective, secure route to guide them there, without heading where you want them to go, is possibly the most important trait of a skilled advisor. It’s not easily learnt either but built through experience.


a successful financial advisor needs, more than anything to be approachable, to engender deep trust and to be seen to be HUMAN. Without this it is difficult for potential clients to get close enough to feel comfortable. The ability to be seen to be vulnerable and make mistakes, opens more doors for financial advisors than false confidence.


a good financial advisor is seldom a LONE RANGER, he has access to a range of experts, skilled in various fields, helping him structure solutions.


not just pushing products, but the genuine ability to understand your clients’ needs, and to create a financial solution that solves that requirement. The ability to define and COMMUNICATE those gaps to the client, and express how the solution is going to resolve these. The successful financial advisor also maintains a sound lead pipeline is also crucial and you can read more about that in a previous post of mine here.

WHY JOIN DFC GREATER GAUTENG? We’re an established, successful, and one of the most mature, authorised Discovery Financial Services Team. Currently the top life producing team in South Africa, we have the secret to helping the brokers we recruit develop their businesses into more successful practices. If you’re looking for that kind of support for your career, why not drop Sean Gilliland a line on

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