10 career lessons you wish you had known earlier

“Despite what some say, we are not in a sales industry,” announces financial planner André Lacasse, from Services Financiers Lacasse. He explains to share the opinion of the author Norm Trainor: people hate to be sold a product, but they like to be helped in their purchase process. “It’s very different,” he said. In his book The 8 best principles of high performance salespeople, Trainor constantly repeats that one should not try to sell. I wish someone had explained it to me when I started. »

When trying to sell, you need to know how to stay true to your ideals, insists retired consultant Jean Dupriez, who says he was “very disillusioned” with the practices he observed during his career when it came to selling a particular product at all costs to the customer. For him, the counselor must opt ​​for sincerity. “Where I had the most pleasure was when it came to analyzing and understanding the customer’s needs. Most of the work is psychology. “Result: according to his calculations, the average loyalty of his customers would be 21 years.

2- I prefer sincerity to perfection

Sincerity towards clients, but also towards yourself. Because, as the financial security adviser Danielle Giroux confides, young advisers tend to want to be irreproachable and, perhaps, lack confidence in themselves. “I wanted to be perfect. At the beginning of the practice, it was often my enemy. I did not start client meetings, being sure that I did not know everything about the field. Twenty years later, with my title of financial planner , I realize that I don’t know everything… Every day, I’m still learning.”

What he has since realized is that meeting a client is “an art”. “The art of listening, of building trust, of asking the right questions,” he explains. It is through their words, their gestures, that I will discover their dreams, their worries, their problems, their discomforts with money, etc., and it depends on whether my intervention will be useful. Not before. »


If it was especially necessary to know how to stand out in the technological field when he started, Sylvain B. Tremblay, of Optimum Gestion de placement, believes that today we can do it only by returning to a more humane practice. “Everyone is “techno” now, we have to bet on the relationship, Develop your network of contacts not by texting or staying virtual but by going to parties. The key to success, according to him? Experience, combined with interpersonal skills.

Same story for André Buteau, from Financière Liberté 55. For him, virtual rhymes with superficial. “Person-to-person meetings should be encouraged. A good advisor should know the individual with whom he is talking, where he comes from, where he is going, what are his aspirations. It is the interpersonal relationship that will distinguish us from robo-advisors. »

Each person, each individual has his own network of contacts to develop, be it family, friends, work colleagues, recalls Richard-Éric Nantais, investment adviser at the National Bank. “It is simply a tree with a thousand branches on which it is possible to develop our business network and, over time, obtain interesting references.”

Same observation for Yves Giroux, of BMO: if you want to support your clients well, you have to develop great skills in managing the human dimension of financial advice. In 1998, two advisers offered him the best advice of his career: to return to the industry. The same year, he began to participate in the field of financial planning and began to develop a “valuable network”.


The many stories and testimonies told by seasoned counselors were of great help to Sylvain B. Tremblay. “This accumulation of stories is very inspiring,” he says. For him, the business network, customers and colleagues are real sources of information. “Continuing education should never be underestimated,” he says. The only asset we have as a consultant is our word, so we have to constantly follow the news and keep up to date. »


In any case, each traces its own path, nuances the Pl. Fin. Amelie Bedard. “We all have a different background, and we have to trust each other. Especially when you are a woman entrepreneur, he adds. “Since there are few women among the brokers, they can tend to want to imitate their peers. »

According to her, the differences of each council are a strength. “They allow us to succeed in a different way than our predecessors.”


“Business development in 2017 requires a business plan, assures André Lacasse, who also supports many consultants to develop their own. “I can assure you that it makes a big difference. This is the surest path to success. Unfortunately, this winning practice does not seem to have caught on in our industry. »

His colleague Amélie Bédard confirms. “At the beginning of your career, it may seem useless, but having a business plan allows you to think about the objectives you want to achieve, work to find the means to achieve them, and the actions to take to achieve them.”

For Richard-Éric Nantais of the National Bank, the work of an investment adviser in brokerage firms is very similar to the work of an entrepreneur. This involves knowing how to work on your brand image, develop your markets, plan your growth, have marketing expenses, have leadership, face the competition, he lists.

“I have always believed that the investment advisor who sees himself as an entrepreneur has a leg up on the competition. This is an asset for your future as an investment advisor!”


“Join a company, you have a mentor. Your beginnings will be much easier, explains Danielle Giroux. By watching your colleagues, you will learn the right work methods. According to her, you should not be shy about the idea of ​​being accompanied by colleagues during your first meetings with clients.” Let your partner intervene and remind them of their techniques. With time and experience, your approach will be customized, you will find. You will then gain confidence and this will be reflected in your interviews with clients. »

Yves Giroux confides for his part that he understood the importance of mentoring years after his debut. “In my early thirties, I had asked the ombudsman of the company I worked for if I could call him from time to time to ‘validate my judgement’ when I had difficult decisions to make,” he recalls. He explained the situation and the decision he had to make so that he could comment on his process and his conclusion. A help that he considers today “invaluable”.

For Jean Dupriez, the chosen mentors must necessarily share our values. “In my opinion, they must be honest and competent and offer concrete training that helps us more to advise than to convince a client.”

8 – You don’t have a plan B

It must be said: sometimes, ups and downs can lead counselors to reconsider their career choices, says Amélie Bédard. Especially for those who are embarked on a business model as independent and for their own account.

“If you don’t have a plan B, but only a plan A, you are more focused on what you want to achieve. Having a plan B insinuates a dent in our will to succeed, and it can become the beginning of the end. It takes therefore be convinced, and above all persevering.”


For Gaétan Veillette of Investors Group, ethical and exemplary behavior is absolutely essential. “You have to know your competition, without talking bad about it. Talking bad about the competition can lead the client to be interested in providers or products that he does not know. It is better to expose the distinctive value of our offer of products and financial services .”

In the same vein, it is good not to “overpromise” the benefits of the products and services we sell. “For example, do not advertise that you can offer everything or pay for everything; it is not credible for a wise person. Be generous with customers, yes, while maintaining your professional status,” he adds.


Finally, according to retired advisor Bernard Viau, you have to look every day for a way to learn more and more about your job. “If you’re going down the path of salaried financial advisor, my advice would be to take a course, read and educate yourself.”

For what? Simply because if you want to last in this job, you will have to be among the best, Mr. Viau believes. “Financial institutions regularly cut their staff, that is to say the less competent and less remunerative advisers. It is a reality that we do not talk about in public.”

His advice? “Go get professional designations, but not university. Keep improving.”

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