5 Traits of the Most Successful Advisors

Posted by Andrea Collatz on June 5, 2013

Originally posted by Maggie Crowley on Advisor Websites

Professionals in the financial industry often have alot in common: more often than not, we’re morning people, generally we are number-crunchers, and we all seem to really, really like coffee (who doesn’t?). While these little factoids may be a bit on the frivolous side, it’s only human to look for similarities among one another. The average advisor shares many traits.

In his book entitled, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell examines factors that contribute to high levels of success. Gladwell attributes factors like birth order and month, opportunities and legacy. I seriously suggest checking out this book if you are interested in human nature and a fascinating take on the formula for success.

So what about the above average advisor? Inspired by Gladwell’s fascinating insight, we got to thinking about what makes a seriously successful advisor. What traits do they share and what makes them different? While there are many factors, we chose a few points we found most interesting. Let’s take a look at a few of these common denominators that have been identified.


It’s no secret that the client-advisor relationship is based on a foundation of trust. Top performing advisors seem to do an incredibly good job of not only building a top-notch image of trust, but actually being exceptionally trustworthy. They stick to their word and always keep promises. Many advisors seem to been naturally charismatic people, but following through and doing what you said you would is the important part here.

High standards

Top performing advisors set unrealistic goals. And meet them. They make a habit of setting standards really high and somehow, against all odds, find a way to meet these goals. Advisors who think about their goals in terms of opportunities rather than challenges are better at thinking outside of the box.

This trait doesn’t just apply on the job – the most successful advisors set high standards in all areas of life. They are star athletes, students and performers because they always expect the best out of themselves.

Always looking for new learning opportunities

Whether it’s a free training seminar on prospecting or an interesting newspaper article, top advisors are constantly looking for opportunities to learn more about the industry and how to conquer it. They seek out resources to learn and grow and are always searching for ways to implement new ideas in their practice.


It’s not enough to simply have great ideas – the most successful advisors know that it’s all about putting good ideas to work. Top performers are always ready to take action and get the ball rolling. They want to set deadlines and get working on making great ideas turn into successful ideas.

Excellent listeners

Why is being a great listener an important characteristic of top advisors? Their clients will tell you, without hesitation, that “They just get it.” This trait is based solely on the fact that top advisors do a better job of understanding clients wants, needs, fears, pain points and motivations. Successful advisors are able to focus on clients in meetings and tune everything else out. They are successful because they understand their clients. They understand their clients because they are excellent listeners.

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I like what you are saying here

I agree, Jordan