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Young Advisor Success Depends on Support From Their Firms

When recruiting new prospects, financial services companies and firms often make promises to support these young advisors throughout their sales careers. Once they begin, young advisors rely on this promised support so they can achieve long-term success and remain in their careers.
LIMRA research on young advisors found those who are just starting their careers face many of the same challenges as their predecessors. Finding leads, asking for referrals and developing skills to run a business remain difficult and important hurdles to success. Like previous generations, today’s young advisors crave support in all these areas. But unlike their predecessors, young advisors differ in their approaches and the types of support they require to tackle these problems.
As part of our research, we asked young advisors to place a value on different types of support. As a result, a number of supports related to technology rise to the top in terms of their importance to young advisors (see chart). This is hardly surprising, as younger generations have grown up with technology and expect to use it in their careers. At the same time, there are still some areas of financial services in which more traditional (perhaps out-of-date) methods are often taught, so young advisors should not assume technology support will be immediately available to them. As firms and advisors gain more access to technology and data, they need to take advantage of these tools. Young advisors want to fully leverage technology resources for themselves and their firms. They see that using technology benefits them by giving them increased efficiency as well as additional time to prospect and interact with clients.
Fifty-eight percent of young advisors said they also seek support for one of their biggest challenges — building their client base. To grow their books of business, young advisors can turn to familiar methods in technology or social media, along with some support from their firms to provide leads. Social media is a natural way for young advisors to engage with both current and prospective clients. Millennials are extremely connected to their peers through social media. Compliance restrictions and other factors, however, can limit their ability to leverage these tools.
Firms that find ways to enable advisors to use social media to market their business and connect with people at the right time will be a step ahead of their competition.
Also evident from our research is that young advisors want more than just technology support. They acknowledged the importance of selling skills and sales ideas, identifying them as valuable areas where they would like more support. They tend to prefer interactive training, which often means “learn by doing” instead of sitting in a classroom or reading online. Because sales ideas and techniques don’t resonate on paper the way they do in person, young advisors place a high value on mentoring from experienced professionals so that they learn the right techniques firsthand. In fact, only 5 percent of the young advisors we studied did not have a mentor and didn’t want one. Everyone else either had a mentor (75 percent) or wanted one (20 percent). There is also a mutual benefit in “reverse-mentoring,” when young advisors share insights with their experienced counterparts on how to reach younger clients and help them with technology challenges.  
The promises made during the recruiting process are important ones to keep as new hires begin their careers. Advisors will rely on the training and resources their firms provide to further develop themselves and their practices. Failing to provide that support is a loss for the hiring firm as well as the new recruit. 
Firms that hire the right talent and provide the proper support will see a solid return on their investment through the long, successful careers of their advisors. 

Emily Tracey, MBA, is analyst in the distribution research department at LIMRA. She is responsible for conducting research related to independent distribution intermediaries and monitoring trends as these channels evolve. Emily may be reached at emily.tra[email protected] [email protected].

Breana Macken is a senior research analyst of distribution research for LIMRA. Breana may be contacted at [email protected] .

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