Have you been told all of your life you have a high IQ? Has this been a driving factor behind your career and your purpose? Do you think that because you are ‘smart’, you should naturally be successful?

Or are you on the other end of the spectrum? Did you struggle in school, have to study twice as hard as everyone else, and feel that every step forward you take in your career is something you have to put tons of effort into?

Well, I’m here to tell you that IQ doesn’t matter all that much when it comes to learning how to be a financial advisor. While that might sit a little better with the second group I mentioned than the first, it really is an awareness that benefits everyone.

IQ is a term that gets thrown around so often, but let’s look at what it really boils down to a number that got slapped on you as the result of you taking a test. If you have never taken an actual IQ test, you may not have a number in mind. However, almost everyone has some sort of idea whether or not they have a high IQ based on what they’ve been told over the years by teachers, parents, and various others in leadership positions.

As it relates to the financial industry, a high IQ probably translates into reading into markets, knowing when to buy or sell, and decoding how politics, world events, and other information will affect your clients’ investments and planning.

Guess what? All that really isn’t very important. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, most of your clients will gain or lose money not based on any market maneuvering, but on the investments, they already have that are either performing well or underperforming. What I’m saying is: it’s not your job to have the high IQ to tell them what stocks to buy. It IS your job to have the high EQ to be aware of their biases, understand how they react to any volatility in the marketplace, and counsel them to make the best decisions.

EQ, or emotional intelligence, is about much more than numbers. It’s about people. And really, isn’t that the reason most of us got into the industry, to begin with? To help PEOPLE? EQ is about handling your own emotions and empathetically navigating others’ emotions. It’s about building relationships and understanding how we communicate and make decisions. To narrow it down, EQ is a combination of:

·      Being present When you are with your clients, are you really WITH them? Or are you thinking about what to have for dinner, what decisions Trump is going to make on national security, and if your next clients are going to have a boatload of money to invest?

·      Being aware If you’re present with your clients, awareness should naturally follow. Can you see why they make the decisions and they do and the bias behind them? Do you know how couples interact with each other and how this affects their finances?

·      Being conscious You need to not only look into your clients’ behavior and biases, but also how your actions and words affect them. Do they respond well when you’re empathetic and caring or more matter-of-fact? Do your clients pull away from you when you start talking a certain topic?

Emotional intelligence is not taught in formal schooling and still isn’t getting as much attention as IQ. However, the thought landscape is changing as more and more people recognize that how we interact with and understand others is just as (or as I argue MORE) important than information we know or how we can manipulate numbers.

When you launch your entrepreneurial advisor business and shoot for that seven figure income, keep in mind that it’s your EQ that’s going to take you to the top of your field. You can leave the IQ to the number crunchers.