The Missing Ingredient: How to Find New Advisors That Will Do The Work

I might be giving away the store here, but, here goes nothing…

I know the real problem with retaining new financial advisors. Just like when baking a cake or cooking a gourmet dish, you have to make sure you all have the ingredients assembled before you start cooking. I am going to break out the three main areas that affect new advisor success:

  1. Recruiting/Hiring Process
  2. Onboarding/Training Process
  3. Managing/Coaching Process

Here is the short answer to the question the industry has struggled with for decades that goes something like this: Why don’t they (the new advisors) make it?

You tried to make a cake with the wrong ingredients.

In my experience coaching and training financial advisors over my multi-decade career I have found that most credible firms have systems for all three areas. I have consulted and coached with hundreds of advisors over the years on all three of the systems and I believe the client and I did good work…and yet..we didn’t have consistently improving results…and neither has the industry because we were using the wrong measurements.

Fact: Hiring based upon personality and skill is NOT essential for #financial advisors and, to be frank, any sales based profession. Personality and skill are important, but, they aren’t essential…otherwise there would be no retention problems.

However, after asking every manager/leader I could find in the industry what the problem was…I got the same answer: They (the prospective advisor) just don’t do it. I asked all of them why and the answer was just as general as before.

All of these experienced and successful leaders had systems for recruiting, onboarding and managing their new team members. Those systems were, overall, effective and while all of them could use some improvement…they weren’t the problem. I confirmed for them that they were doing the most of the right things once they hired the new advisor.

I then asked them what kept the new advisor from ‘just doing it’? This was more specific and at the same time very diverse. To sum it up for you it the answer was basically this:

The new advisor encountered some form of adversity (distraction and lack of ability to focus is a form of adversity btw) and was unable to recover from the setback…and eventually left the industry and/or switched to another firm with a similar result.

How do we find prospective advisors who have resilience to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and move on to the next challenge? We select ingredients with a different emphasis: Mental Toughness is the most important character aspect for a prospective financial advisor…period. That aspect of character will, in large part, determine whether or not they will be successful.

Passing the licensing exams, learning the immense amount of knowledge required to not only understand what you are selling to your customers, but, to ensure it is in the right thing for your clients is a big hurdle to overcome. Now, add having to learn how to sell your products/services and yourself to successful people at the same time…This all requires the persistence, resilience, emotional management, stress tolerance and self-confidence that makes up mental toughness.

It is possible to assess, prior to hiring, prospective advisors for mental toughness. The challenge is to do so reliably and consistently across the years. Intuition and experience is valuable, but, hard to scale across an organization and to maintain when/if you lose the experienced recruiter on your team.

There is good news. You can use an assessment to get a more accurate gauge on how mentally tough a candidate is, but, these assessments haven’t been commonly used or known about in our industry. I am extremely fortunate to be the first coach/consultant to have access to a new one that has been tested on professional and Olympic athletes. There are lots of people with skill and talent…we need to find the ones that will do the work and won’t quit when it gets tough.

Please understand that this isn’t an assessment like DISC or Myers-Briggs that has been adapted to screen for mental toughness. That will not work. It was designed precisely for this one aspect of character and that is why it will change the game.

Every single manager/leader I have worked with and spoken with over the years is absolutely confident that if the prospective advisor follows the plan it will work in the majority of applicants. We can now make sure, to a larger extent, that you have the right ‘ingredients’ for a successful new advisor for your firm to onboard, train and coach.

What would a measurable increase (say as little as 10%) in the retention of new advisors mean for your firm’s profitability?

Think about the $$ and time you currently spend and then project how much revenue an advisor that stays with you will mean year over year.

If I can be of assistance with exploring this please feel free to comment below, email me at and/or send me a private message. There is a ton of noise out there about assessments and recruiting and I am probably adding to it right now. With that being said, if you are looking for an expert that focuses on your industry and is willing to have a conversation before invoicing/billing…lets talk.