10 must-read books for financial advisors for 2020

Dec 16, 2019

Clients' financial lives are ever-changing and complex. Now more than ever, advisors need to focus on selling a personalized experience, rather than on selling their services. There are lots of online blogs and conferences where you can get this knowledge, but sometimes it is nice to sit down with a book, especially over the holidays. Below are some books that are on my reading list for the holiday season and 2020 that you may enjoy as well. These books are a mix of new-age marketing tips and foundational reads to help grow your advisory practice. 


The Pursuit of Absolute Engagement 

By Julie Littlechild 

Two-thirds of advisors say they have either drifted from the original vision they had for their businesses or know (deep down) that what’s important to them has changed along the way. Like you, they want and need to re-energize and create a compelling vision for the future of their business and to take action on that vision. The Pursuit of Absolute Engagement provides you with a clear blueprint. The book will give you the tools to: take stock, intentionally design a business that supports the life you really want to live and align your client and team experience with that personal vision.


Gratitude Marketing

by Michael Sciortino 

With the threat of robo-advisors growing every day, financial advisors need to answer two critical questions: how do I retain my clients and how do I build that important bridge to the next generation ― my clients’ children? This book answers these questions. Traditional marketing speaks at people. Gratitude marketing engages and connects with people. Gratitude marketing taps into the wisdom of proven professionals who have used real-life ideas from this book to build their businesses. This book will help you combine relationship-building ideas with consistent nurturing so you can create clients for life.


Ineffective Habits of Financial Advisors

by Steve Moore and Gary Brooks

Based on a 15-year consulting program that author Steve Moore has led for financial advisors, this book gives readers proven techniques that allow advisors to transform their business into an elite practice based on business analysis, strategic vision, exceptional client service, and acquiring high-net-worth clients. Told through the story of a purely fictional and completely average financial advisor, each chapter begins with an ineffective habit that is then countered with a discipline that improves business results and adds value.


The Supernova Advisor

by Rob Knapp

The Supernova Model is a client service, client acquisition, and practice management model that drives an explosive acceleration in revenue and client satisfaction by capitalizing upon the 80/20 rule. First implemented by financial advisors at Merrill Lynch―under the leadership of author Rob Knapp―it has grown increasingly popular within the financial services industry. The Supernova Advisor skillfully outlines this proven model and reveals how it can be used to create an exceptional experience for your clients, while significantly growing your business.


Building a StoryBrand

by Donald Miller 

Donald Miller's StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides listeners with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services. Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching listeners the seven universal story points all humans respond to, the real reason customers make purchases, how to simplify a brand message so people understand it, and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.


Serious Shift: How Experience Staging Can Save Your Practice 

By Dennis Moseley-Williams

Regulatory changes, shrinking profit margins, evolving technologies, and shifting client expectations are some of the new pressures advisors face today. Add the ease with which one can now switch advisors and acquire products and information online, and one comes to the following conclusion: the only unique competitive advantage is the exceptional experience an advisor can create for his or her clients. Very successful advisors know this. They understand that clients are looking for a consistent, memorable and meaningful experience, one that makes the client feel listened to and cared for. They know they must be fully aligned with their clients when it comes to respect, trust, and shared purpose. It’s a tall order but a vastly rewarding one, and it’s absolutely achievable with determination, discipline and method. In this book Dennis Moseley-Williams examines the attributes and behaviors of very successful advisors by showing that the transition begins with changing – or shifting – one’s attitudes and expectations in order to live a life less ordinary. 


Storyselling for Financial Advisors: How Top Advisors Persuade 

by Scott West and Mitch Anthony

Highly persuasive individuals—including many top financial professionals—engage clients by using similes, metaphors, anecdotes, and illustrations. They ask open-ended questions and listen intently to clients' stories, histories, and backgrounds to elicit valuable information and make deep human connections. This communication style allows them to better serve their clients' financial needs and sell more effectively in the process. In this best-selling classic, authors Scott West and Mitch Anthony explain how to make these intuitive connections. They outline understandable and practical strategies that any financial professional can use.


The Trust Mandate: The Behavioral Science Behind How Asset Managers Really Win and Keep Clients

By Herman Brodie and Klaus Harnack

Backed by compelling data and research from multiple disciplines, The Trust Mandate breaks open the science of trust for asset managers, revealing the systematic steps clients take in their search for evidence of good intentions—the essential, but often missing component in business relationships. It also shows how trusted managers are able to win more clients (and keep them longer), merit good recommendations, take more risks, and justify higher fees. 

The clients of trusted managers enjoy reduced anxiety, higher long-run returns, and fewer costly and pointless transitions from firm to firm. So high-trust relationships are a genuine win-win situation. Yet the task of initiating and nurturing them falls squarely on the service provider. Asset managers must learn to convey their good intentions. The Trust Mandate shows why, and how, in unprecedented detail.


The Geometry of Wealth: How to Shape a Life of Money and Meaning

By Brian Portnoy

In The Geometry of Wealth, behavioural finance expert Brian Portnoy delivers an inspired answer-based idea that wealth, truly defined, is funded contentment. It is the ability to underwrite a meaningful life. This stands in stark contrast to angling to become rich, which is usually an unsatisfying treadmill. At the heart of this groundbreaking perspective, Portnoy takes readers on a journey toward wealth, informed by disciplines ranging from ancient history to modern neuroscience. He contends that tackling the big questions about a joyful life and tending to financial decisions are complementary, not separate, tasks.


The Experience Economy

By B. Joseph Pine II and James Gilmore

Joseph Pine and James Gilmore introduced the idea of the experience economy in this book as a new way to think about connecting with customers and securing their loyalty. As a result, their book is now a classic, and though the world has changed in many ways since it was written, the way to a customer's heart has not. In fact, the idea of staging experiences to leave a memorable and lucrative impression is now more relevant than ever. With an ongoing torrent of brands attacking consumers from all sides, how do you make yours stand out?

These books were sourced from reading lists below, for more book recommendations check out their lists: 

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