Sales Assistants - Who Needs Them?

The financial services industry continues to evolve and the role of sales assistant is changing along with it. Sales assistants are no longer just file clerks and typists. Instead, they are immersed in the brokerage business and work closely with retail investors. Many also hold their Series 7 license.Today's progressive brokers typically point to their sales assistants as an integral part of their

The financial services industry continues to evolve and the role of sales assistant is changing along with it. Sales assistants are no longer just file clerks and typists. Instead, they are immersed in the brokerage business and work closely with retail investors. Many also hold their Series 7 license.

Today's progressive brokers typically point to their sales assistants as an integral part of their success. And our articles on team building regularly feature information about the contribution of assistants.

I recently met with two sales assistants who fulfill the more modern role. Catherine Berry and Virginia Fiveash are sales assistants at two different Raymond James offices. And they have abilities unlike assistants of 10 years ago.

Using advanced computer and people skills, they run automated, organized offices, answer clients' questions with aplomb and serve as their brokers' right arms. Both emphasized two points in their conversations with me. They have a strong desire to do well in their jobs and a desire to be appreciated.

In many ways they are similar to the 421 assistants who participated in our groundbreaking Sales Assistant Study. The study collected data about assistants' duties, salaries and impressions of their careers.

While they were asked about a range of issues, I enjoyed the answers to one question in particular, "What do you like most about your job?"

The replies were upbeat and positive. I definitely got the feeling from reading their written comments that these people genuinely enjoy their careers. Here are a few of their favorite things:

- Daily involvement in and access to financial markets.

- Dealing with clients, trading and solving problems.

- Variety. Every day is different and I'm constantly learning.

- The fast-paced environment and helping clients.

- Helping clients manage their resources and assets.

- Helping clients. Taking ownership of a project or problem from start to finish.

- The satisfaction of helping clients reach their goals.

Do you see a theme? It's clear that sales assistants find serving clients greatly rewarding. And that's the best kind of assistant to have. In many cases, your assistant has more frequent contact with clients than you do. So you need someone who gets joy from helping people.

Making clients happy and their portfolios healthy is what this business is all about. So do me a favor, go out of your way to thank your sales assistant today.

Cordially,

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