Well defined area of expertise is key to success

By Donna Glasgow | January 27 2008 03:29PM

For financial advisors, trying to do everything for everybody is an obstacle to success, Jim Ruta, president of the Expert Institute and columnist for The Insurance Journal, told convention attendees.

"Are you a multi-ologist?" Mr. Ruta warned that this is not a winning game plan for financial advisors. Specializing is essential. "No one has time for general advice any more…. Expertise is the number one expectation that people have."

There are dangers to taking the generalist approach. Clients expect that any advice you give them is completely reliable. If they can’t rely on the advice you’ve given, they’ll sue, he warned.

"Specific fish require specific bait," he continued. Specialize in an area that you are most passionate about, become the expert in that field and instead of chasing clients, "they’ll chase the boat," he said.

Positioning yourself with an expert identity that can be summed up in five seconds will boost your success, he adds. Don’t introduce yourself as an insurance or investment advisor. Instead, tell them what you do, he urged. Examples of a succinct description of your expertise could be "I am an expert in preserving family legacies for people who care." Another example could be, "I create peace of mind for established investors," he said.

Mr. Ruta says that to improve sales success, advisors must "present like your audience thinks." This means putting yourself in their position and identifying their needs. "It’s not about you (the advisor). It never was about you."

Also, don’t assume that clients readily understand the information you are giving them, especially if you are using financial services jargon. Speak with regular, everyday language and make it simple to understand. "Clients don’t connect the dots. They don’t understand. They want you to explain it."

Also in regards to communicating effectively, advisors should position the benefits of the product they are selling in terms of what it will do for the client. "Replace ‘I do’ with ‘you will benefit’ language," he explains.