Ten Reasons Advisers Fail – And What to do About it


Legendary US financial adviser mentor, Don Connelly, suggests the achievement of greatness for advisers has very little to do with talent and a lot to do with hard work.

Don Connelly
Don Connelly

Connelly, who will be touring Australia next February as one of the outstanding presenters taking part in the 2016 MDRT Tour Down Under, makes this observation in the course of outlining ten reasons why advisers fail in their businesses, and what they can do to overcome or avoid these shortcomings.

We have summarised these ten reasons below, based on Connelly’s many years of experience working within the financial advice sector, and have included brief extracts from a more detailed commentary he offers on each issue:

  1. Poor planning
    • Time management is a major issue in our industry. Too many of us fail to plan out our day. Not having a plan is an excuse to fail.
  2. Lack of concrete goals
    • Make your goals magnetic, so they pull you toward them; and make them achievable. Brian Tracy is right when he says that a goal not written down is not a goal. It’s a fantasy.
  3. Fear of rejection
    • While fear of rejection may have to do with shyness, it ultimately stems from a poor self-image.
  4. Poor verbal skills
    • Saying the words is not the same as telling the story. You don’t need a hundred sales ideas. Get two or three sales ideas and tell them over and over and over until you’re so good you’re great at it.
  5. Poor selling skills
    • Too many Advisors don’t know how to sell. They never get good at it because they just don’t like to sell.
  6. Poor powers of persuasion
    • You are asking strangers to ignite their trust in you and reignite their trust in the system. Without passionate persuasion, this is not going to happen.
  7. Poor relationship building skills
    • As Advisors we have to decide if we want to manage money or manage relationships. Today’s clients want a lot more than just profits.
  8. Not referable
    • Would you want to do business with you? Do you believe in yourself?
  9. No repeatable process
    • For some strange reason, Financial Advisors don’t feel the need to practice.
  10. Poor decision making
    • Decisions drive actions. Actions produce results. Those who make poor decisions will not last.

Connelly says all of these traps are avoidable and that greatness is there for anyone willing to invest the time, patience and practice: “The first step to greatness is deciding to become great,” he says, adding that the second step is to seek help, while the third is for the adviser to refine his or her ‘core competency’. According to a colleague of Connelly, an adviser’s core competency is talking – in front of clients, on the telephone and at seminars, etc.

It may be possible to be born with innate talent. It is impossible to be born with innate skills…

He advocates that by learning how to run a more efficient business the adviser will have more time to devote to their core competency. He adds that if advisers don’t increase the time they spend in front of clients and prospective clients, proper coaching can help improve their prospecting, verbal and selling skills.

“Get out there and build yourself a repeatable process” urges Connelly. “Sharpen your skills until they are second to none. It may be possible to be born with innate talent. It is impossible to be born with innate skills. Skills must be developed over time.”

Don Connelly will be joined by colleagues from the United States, Great Britain and Australia in the February 2016 MDRT Down Under Tour, as they share their experiences and expertise within a growing global adviser community.


  1. 11. Cumbersome and inefficient compliance requirements
    12. “Experts” from other industries weighing in to make wholesale changes to the industry, without proper due diligence from actual industry members.

    could keep going for ever on this…

Comments are closed.