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5 Books on Running a Successful Advisory Firm that Every Financial Advisor Should Read

Date: June 9, 2021

Whether you’re trying to grow a new practice or just maintain the competitive edge of an established one, you can always benefit from adding new insights and knowledge to your toolbox. One of the key methods for doing that is reading the latest research and business advice to stay up to date on new techniques, strategies, and technology for your financial advisor business. Here are five best books for financial advisors about running an advisory practice that every advisor should add to their practice:

1. The Virtual Assistant Solution: Come Up for Air, Offload the Work You Hate, and Focus on What You Do Best

By Michael Hyatt

I am a big believer in the value of delegation as a way to make your practice more productive and efficient. While I spend a lot of time thinking about ways that financial advisors can delegate more to tech, it’s equally important to delegate more to staff. 

This book by Michael Hyatt is all about why and what to delegate to a virtual assistant. The first three chapters cover the importance of having a virtual assistant and defining exactly what it is they can do. The last three chapters provide some insights, tips, and strategies for getting your assistant up-to-speed and developing a smooth workflow. You’ll learn how to set clear expectations, how to work effectively with a virtual assistant, and how to invest that time you’ve freed up by delegating those routine tasks. 

2. Communication Essentials for Financial Planners

By John E. Grable and Joseph Goetz

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board commissioned this book in 2017 in response to the lack of counseling and communication training in the CFP Board’s curriculum. While the technical skill you do gain in that curriculum is essential, what many advisors realize soon after they start working is that financial advising is just as much about building relationships and communicating effectively with clients and prospects as it is about understanding finance.

John E. Grable and Joseph Goetz compiled this book based on the latest research in applied communications to cover the core communication skills that every advisor needs. Each of the 10 chapters focus on a different dimension of communication, including:

  • Listening skills
  • Styles of questioning
  • Communicating in an office environment
  • Building Trust
  • Politeness and Sensitivity
  • Sales

Moreover, unlike other books on communication in business, this has been written by financial advisors and tailored to financial advisors. All of the research and advice is discussed in a way that specifically relates it to your practice.

Woman reading book at evening at home close up

3. The Financial Advisor M&A Guidebook: Best Practices, Tools, and Resources for Technology Integration & Beyond

By Greg Friedman and Shaun Kapusinski

When Greg Friedman and Shaun Kapusinski noticed the increasing rate of mergers and acquisitions in the financial advisory space, they set out to write a book that could provide some guidance to firms that are going through a merger or acquisition. 

These transactions are notorious for being messy, difficult, and full of unexpected issues. Friedman and Kapusinski decided it shouldn’t have to be that way. They wrote this guidebook as a way to help firms complete this transaction as seamlessly as possible. 

It does this by breaking the process down into stages: 

  • Strategy
  • Assessment
  • Implementation
  • Adoption
  • Growth

In each chapter, the authors rely on the decades of real-life experience they’ve accumulated in the financial advisory and operations space to define best practices during each stage of the process. They also discuss resources, tools, and methods for things like technology integration, encouraging a smooth merging of staff, and communicating with clients through the process.

4. Advice That Sticks: How to Give Financial Advice that People Will Follow

By Moira Somers

As a financial advisor, creating value for your clients largely depends on whether or not they actually follow your advice. If you’ve worked with enough clients for long enough, you quickly realize that that’s not always as straightforward as you’d like. Breaking through a client’s behavioral biases regarding their finances can be tough—but if you don’t find a way to do it, your advice won’t be able to translate into real value.  

That’s exactly why Moira Somers, a neuropsychologist and leading practitioner in the field of financial psychology, wrote this book. Each chapter tackles the problem of client nonadherence from a different angle to unpack why it happens and what you can do about it.

The book is equal parts theory and practical advice as Somers walks you through how to identify the root of a particular client’s nonadherence and tailor your strategy to their unique personality. So if you are looking for a book on financial advising, start here. 

5. The Enduring Advisory Firm: How to Serve Your Clients More Effectively and Operate More Efficiently

By Mark C. Tibergien and Kimberly G. Dellarocca

In this insightful book, Tibergien and Dellarocca combine rigorous research with real-world case studies to uncover exactly what makes a financial advisory firm last. In the broadest terms, what they found is that the firms which adapt to new industry trends early and keep up to date with technology are the ones that tend to survive through the generations. 

To start, the authors debunk some myths that are common in the industry about what is threatening financial advisory firms so that advisors can focus instead on what really matters: planning for the future of financial advising.

Over the course of 12 chapters, readers explore key business trends, significant generational differences in investing styles and client expectations, and how to effectively leverage new technologies. With this book, you’ll be able to better adapt your practice to the needs and expectations of a broader range of clients spanning multiple demographics and generations. 

More Options: Each of these books explore a different dimension of financial advisory firms and how to run a more productive practice that provides more value to more clients. Whether you’ve been in this business for decades or you’re just starting to build out your practice, there’s sure to be new insights in each of these books that could help improve your business. In addition, if you want more choices, Michael Kitces has a more in-depth list here. AdvisorEngine also has a list of books at this link.

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