A New Approach to Financial Services (Hint: Not a Competition)

If you started your career in financial services at a large brokerage, then you were probably taught to be competitive. It’s an eat what you kill world – and this can come as a huge shock for anyone who set out to help people.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Financial advisors don’t have to compete to succeed. Financial advisors don’t have to sell products to survive. Financial advisors can build long, sustainable careers that enable them to empower others financially while also reaching their own financial goals.

There’s a new way to approach financial services – and it isn’t the competitive way.

There Is a Community in Financial Services

Traditional financial services firms foster a deep sense of competitiveness. Since their focus revolves around sales and not quality advice, then this should come as no surprise. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Fee-only advisors come from all walks of life. But what they have in common is a desire to help people live their best financial lives. Because their focus is on helping instead of selling, there’s no need to be competitive. In fact, working together can help them achieve more success in business and more personal growth as advisors.

If this sounds like you, then rest assured that there really is a community for you in financial services. And this community serves to break down the barrier of competition and show that a community can be beneficial to all.

There’s Enough Work to Go Around

The reason competition exists in financial services (or any other field) is because of a scarcity mindset. If an advisor fears there’s not enough work to go around, the negative prospect of potentially losing clients to another advisor is louder than the positive aspect of being a part of a community.

But, when it comes to financial services, there is enough work to go around. Not only is there plenty of work to go around, oftentimes other advisors can become some of your greatest referral sources.

Think about it this way, once you have more than enough clients, you’ll want to have a good person to refer the clients that you can’t take on. Since you want everyone to get good advice, you’ll feel a lot better if you know there are advisors in your network that you trust to refer to others. And this goes the other way as well. Build a strong relationship with other advisors and you could become that go-to referral.

There’s also the fact that many financial advisors tend to focus their client base on a particular niche market. So if you’re focused on millennials but other advisors in your area are focused on Gen X, then any millennials coming their way could be referred to you (and vice versa).

When you think of your work as a business owner as well as a financial advisor, it will become clear that there are many benefits to having a strong community of like-minded financial advisor/business owners around you.

How to Find Your Community

There are many ways to find your community – and you should try all of them!

First of all, there’s the in-person method. You can reach out to your local community to find other fee-only financial advisors. Consider starting a local mastermind or even larger gatherings in your community for financial advisors. This is a great way to get to know other advisors in your area and, not only could you learn a lot from each other, you may even end up referring clients to each other.

Then there’s the online method. If you follow financial blogs, you’ll see that there’s a wealth of people online talking about the topics you and your clients care about. Many of them are financial advisors just like yourself and they often help each other out. You can follow them on social media, comment on their posts, or reach out directly via email. Since they blog about the topic, it’s something that interests them greatly, which means they’d probably be happy to talk to you about it as well. The personal finance blogging community is very close-knit and many bloggers within help each other out, prop each other up, and enjoy collaboration.

For even more support, especially in direct relation to your business, there are financial advisor networks. Financial advisor networks can help financial advisors with business costs, marketing, and more. These networks are a great support system for all financial advisors, but it’s important to pick the right financial advisor network for you because there are costs involved and you’ll want to consider what makes most sense for you.

Starting a Movement of Financial Advisors with a Conscience

We’re all here because we have something in common: we believe that financial advice should be given to help people, not just to make as much money as possible. With this in mind, it’s a lot easier to see that there’s no reason to compete. There is enough work to go around – and we can all be made better through collaboration and support.

So why not flip the old financial services doctrine on its head? Instead of feeling like we need to sell products to survive or compete to find success, let’s build a movement of financial advisors with a conscience. By changing the conversation and promoting community, fee-only financial advisors can achieve their dreams of making a living helping others achieve their financial dreams. It’s truly a win/win.

Image Credit: Alexandre Perotto

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