Advisors need to know themselves as well as their clients in order to build a successful business, according to Andrew Ramos, a senior financial advisor at Edward Jones.

“As an advisor, you need to know how you communicate with others in order to help clients,” Ramos said in a recent interview with Financial Advisor magazine.

Building a successful practice requires communications and people skills – the softer side of advising – as well as investment skills, he noted. Advisors also should be willing to ask for help in developing their practice.

“Find a mentor. Find someone who has had the success you want and don’t be afraid to tell them they are going to be your mentor,” Ramos said. “In order to do this, you have to have a fair assessment of yourself and your skills.

“Some people expect the mentor to come to them but that is not always going to happen,” he added. “Advisors need to understand that asking for help in building a successful business is not a bad thing – get out of your shell and ask for help.”

It also is important to tell clients why you are recommending they do something, so they are educated about the reasons behind the action.

“When you take the time to educate the client, it shows you are more than just an investment advisor,” Ramos said. "And let clients have access to you.”

He also advised holding purely social events for clients and guests or family members they bring because it sets up a system of referrals and draws in the next generation of potential clients.

Defining your ideal client to all of the other professionals you work with is another important element of building a referral network, Ramos said.