What Are the Top 3 Traits of Any Successful Advisor?

 Written by: Nigel Green | deVere Group

In any advisory role, certain traits distinguish the most effective and impactful advisors from the rest. 

Over my decades-long career running a global firm, I believe that I’ve whittled down my top three that contribute to an advisor’s long-term success in our increasingly competitive and continually changing industry.

1. Ability to listen

The ability to listen is perhaps the most fundamental trait for any advisor. Effective listening goes beyond merely hearing words; it involves actively engaging with the speaker, understanding their needs, concerns, and aspirations, and responding appropriately. 

This deep level of listening fosters trust and rapport, which are crucial for any advisory relationship. 


By listening attentively, advisors demonstrate empathy, showing that they genuinely care about the issues and challenges faced by their clients. This emotional connection encourages clients to be open and honest, providing the advisor with the necessary information to offer meaningful advice.

Active listening helps advisors understand the full context of a situation, leading to clearer and more accurate insights. Misunderstandings are minimized, and the advice given is more relevant and actionable.

When advisors listen well, they show respect for the client’s perspective, valuing their input and making them feel heard and validated. This respect forms the foundation of a collaborative and productive relationship.

2. Ability/Wanting to Learn 

In a rapidly changing world, the ability to learn continuously is crucial for advisors. This trait ensures that advisors remain knowledgeable and up-to-date, capable of providing current and relevant advice.

Successful advisors must be able to adapt to new information, tech, and methodologies. This flexibility allows them to adjust their strategies and advice as situations evolve.

A natural curiosity drives advisors to seek out new knowledge and understanding. This proactive approach to learning keeps them ahead of industry trends and equips them with a diverse range of tools and strategies to help their clients.

Recognizing that there is always more to learn fosters a mindset of humility. Advisors who are open to new ideas and feedback are better positioned to grow and improve their advisory skills continually.

3. Grit

Grit, defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals, is a critical trait for advisors who wish to achieve sustained success. 

Advisors with grit are relentless in their pursuit of their clients’ success. They do not give up easily, even when faced with significant challenges. This persistence ensures that they continue to work towards their clients’ goals, providing unwavering support and encouragement.

The ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures is a hallmark of grit. Advisors who possess this trait can maintain their motivation and focus, learning from their mistakes and using them as stepping stones to future success.

Long-term commitment to clients’ goals creates trust and demonstrates an advisor’s dedication. This commitment builds a strong foundation for the advisory relationship, ensuring that clients feel supported and valued over the long haul.

In practical terms, these traits can be applied in various ways:


Advisors can conduct regular, in-depth consultations with clients, asking open-ended questions and actively engaging with their responses. They should also practice reflective listening, summarizing what they have heard to confirm understanding.


Advisors should commit to ongoing professional development, attending workshops, conferences, and pursuing industry qualifications relevant to their field. Staying abreast of industry news and trends through reading and networking is also essential.


Advisors can set long-term goals with their clients, breaking them down into manageable steps and celebrating small victories along the way. They should also develop strategies for overcoming obstacles and maintaining motivation, both for themselves and their clients.

Experience teaches me that by cultivating and integrating these traits, advisors can build strong, lasting, rewarding relationships with their clients, and a fundamentally strong business for themselves.

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