How pursuing continuing education leads to more business

Financial advisors might consider continuing education requirements a necessary evil of the profession that interrupts a busy schedule. Yet, CE requirements also can be viewed as a tool that leads to more business. Here’s how:

1. An additional professional certification. A financial advisor in California felt being out of the office at training was a cause for apology for not getting a client’s call or returning it as quickly as he normally would.

Business opportunity: He explained to clients that he was attending classes to earn an additional professional certification. Clients understand certain levels of education are needed for certain jobs, and some clients may require CE courses for their own jobs. So they notice additional professional certifications. This might start a conversation about your existing credentials or theirs and what was added. It establishes you as a professional.

2. Here’s who I heard. You attended an industry conference. They had some celebrity economists speaking who regularly appear on cable financial news channels. You attended the sessions and took notes.

Business opportunity: You relate to clients the key points the speaker made. Now you are bringing an expert point of view to the relationship. Clients realize you have access to this kind of expertise.

3. I asked a question on your behalf. The same event and the same speaker, but there was a Q&A session afterward. Several clients have been asking “What do you think will happen when interest rates go up?” You raised your hand, took the microphone and asked the speaker that same question. You relate the answer to your clients.

Business opportunity: Clients realize you take the relationship very seriously. You have their interests top of mind and have gone out of your way to try to get them an opinion from this expert.

4. Here’s a new way I can help people. What does your new certification mean in practical terms? What did you learn? You can bring things from the theoretical to the practical by using some examples.

Business opportunity: The training focused on long-term care and what is (and isn’t) covered by health insurance. This is very useful for younger people who haven’t learned about LTC insurance or older clients who have questions about what Medicare and supplemental insurance covers.

5. Certificates on the wall. It’s impressive when you have a collection of framed certificates behind your desk. These are symbols of achievement. You might point to your latest or gesture toward one when a client asks a question in that area of expertise.

Business opportunity: Client needs are constantly changing and you must stay current. When meeting with a client, point out the most recent certificate you received and how it helps you stay on top of what’s happening professionally. It can lift you from the salesperson category into the professional category.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon. See more from Sanders in the video “Turning friends into clients.”

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