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Diversitas organizer and University of Akron Professor, Barry Mulholland was featured alongside financial professionals in an article by US News & World Report discussing how to become a successful financial advisor. From honing your sales skills to finding a role that suits you, Mulholland’s insight and advice is important for any young professional looking to grow in the industry.

Sales skills are important to obtain and hone.

Make no mistake: Sales is an integral part of the financial advisor career. “While the selling of products is not the focus of many financial planners these days, the basic sales skills are still important because you have to convince your customers, both internal and external to your firm, about the quality of the advice you are providing,” says Barry Mulholland, the University of Akron’s financial planning director and the lead organizer of Diversitas, a symposium dedicated to improving diversity in the financial planning and wealth management industry. “Understanding that objections are an important part of the advice – and sales – process because they give us a chance to clarify or adjust our advice for the client.”

The financial planning profession is much bigger than a single role.

Becoming a financial advisor isn’t the only path in the financial industry. “There are analyst, paraplanner and customer relationship roles that are part of the team supporting financial planners,” Mulholland says. “There are roles working for pension plans, government regulators and academic institutions, including as professors and researchers in the fields of financial planning, investment management and financial therapy.” If you find the role you’re in isn’t the best match for you, rest assured that the skills and knowledge you gained in financial planning can be readily transferred to many other opportunities within the industry, he says.

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Dr. Mulholland is The University of Akron’s Financial Planning Director who is passionate about bringing new and more diverse talent to the financial planning industry.