An introvert's skills and nature are well suited to the financial industry
What if you’re impressed with your financial advisor – and think you might like to be one, too? But, you happen to be an introvert. Can you succeed in this business?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Introverts typically prefer quiet solitude to noisy crowds. Financial advisors study financial trends, so they can make great investment recommendations to their clients. They spend as much time on research as they do on prospecting, and meeting with, clients. So, there is room for you if you’re an introvert who is interested in making a career in this exciting, always dynamic business.
- What does an advisor’s life look like?
Advisors spend a lot of time reading investment journals, studying market trends, and analysing companies’ financial health. They then translate what they've learned into reports and charts. These fit well with an introvert’s need for quiet. But, then advisors also work closely with clients to develop review their goals, develop financial plans, and explain how the investments they’ve chosen fit into those. They also network extensively with peers, colleagues, and potential clients.
Doing the reading, research, and problem-solving may be very attractive to introverts, particularly since so much of the work is done independently. But, the more extroverted part of the job can go against an introvert’s grain since much of it may require selling – to get, and hold, clients, or convince them to change their minds to stick with their financial plans. Making cold calls to strangers, and being rejected, can be tough, as can attending social events and evening classes to remain current. All that connecting and lack of downtime can drain an introvert, but it can be managed with balanced schedules.
- What introvert qualities are most helpful?
Introverts have some qualities that can make them great financial advisors.
One is that they are great listeners. Given that they don’t need to be front and centre all the time, they can make space to really hear and question what their clients are saying to better understand their goals as well as their situations to help them best achieve their dreams. People appreciate being listened to at that level, particularly when they’re dealing with someone who is going to be managing their life savings to help them reach their goals and eventually be financially prepared for retirement.
Working with clients, and developing relationships from which you can guide their financial decisions, is another introvert’s special skill. You tend to build relationships over time, which is a plus in this industry. It’s also where many advisors get their new contacts – clients like what they do and refer their friends and relatives to them. If you then approach those referrals with a can-do service attitude that fits with who you are, you will attract the right clients to you because they will see your sincerity and your great background research, and value your approach and what you bring to the table. Remember: it’s not about you, it’s all about them, and putting others first is one of introverts’ special skills.
It is also a plus if you can find a mentor to help you learn the industry and pick up the best dos and don’ts that he or she has learned. Being a listener, who also builds relationships, can then help you learn what you need to do in order to navigate the areas of the business that will stretch you a bit more out of your comfort zone.
- How can you position yourself for a successful career?
If you’re interested in this field, talk to financial advisors. Find out how they do things. Many are using technology now that simplifies their work. Most also have assistants who can help with a lot of the logistics of connecting. So, both of those can trim some of the work that you do to allow you time to do what you love in the business and take time to recover from the more extroverted activities, so that you can maintain an important balance.
Find an introverted mentor who can offer you his or her survival tips, and then share your vulnerability and concerns so that you can be helped with what most concerns you.
You can also explore what workplaces might work best for you. If you’re a true introvert, you may not want to run your own business. You might prefer working in someone else’s operation, whether it’s a financial institution or an independent company. You may be able to work in a team there that makes the best use of your skills in concert with someone else’s, so that you can both bring your best games to developing your book of business.
If there was any field where the old adage “where there’s a will, there’s a way” couldn’t hold truer, it has to be the financial services industry. There’s room for everyone in it, and a corner in which you can shine. So, take the time, do your research – which you probably already love doing – and think through how you can best do this to maximize your skills and client contributions. There are all kinds of investors, and they need all kinds of advisors. So, yes: you can be successful as an introverted financial advisor and your first financial plan is to figure out how you can best make that work.