60-80 hours per week

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May 31, 2008 8:58 pm

I would be interested in finding out how many of you would schedule your typical day if you were getting started.  I hear a lot of people talking about the number of hours they work per week and I am curious what seems to eat up a lot of a new reps' work day.  Looking at the 500 Day War post, it seems that a person should try to speak to 2500 people in 500 business days.  That equates to about 50 contacts per day.

 
It seems like you should be able to successfully get to that number pretty easily if you are doing a ton of cold calling.  How long does it take to get in 50 dials if you just sit and bang them out in rapid succession?  It should really only take a few hours, I would think.
 
Where are you finding the rest of the time going if you don't have a lot of accounts to service?  Is it time spent driving back an forth to appointments, time spent taking prospects to lunch, and dinner?
 
One thing that has really surprised me is that I always seem to be the first person in the office and one of the last people to leave.  I am wondering what all these other brokers are doing when they are only in the office from 9am-3pm.  There has to be something I am missing because it seems like the people in my office work fewer hours than anywhere I have ever been.  They must be doing more than I am seeing. 
 
Also, another weird thing.  There is nobody in my office that does any cold calling that I have been able to identify!!  Something seems a bit off!  I have noticed that many of the more successful young guys have had a ton of assets gifted to them by a relative.  Maybe that is why things seem less intense to them.
 
I am just trying to reconcile what I am seeing in my office versus what I have heard from the brokers on this board.    
May 31, 2008 9:07 pm

The 500 Day outline is the most accurate description of how to succeed in this business.  50 contacts and 50 calls are two dramatically different things.  I can do 50 calls in less than an hour if no one answers.  No one answering sure doesn't help me gain prospects. 

 
As much as everyone hates cold calling there is almost no other way to make it in the business unless you are brought into the right situation (relative, start the business on a team, etc). 
 
I was thinking earlier today about how many have washed out since I have been at my firm.  The most common denominator I could come up is a lack of cold-calling time.  The most recent guy to graduate in my office averaged at least 400 calls a day.  Those who have left have spent most of their time researching products, building pitch books, talking with every wholesaler, and spending time with advisors who liked to hear themselves talk.
May 31, 2008 11:30 pm

I plan on doing a lot of cold calling.  It can be really brutal but I guess I don't feel as shy asking for an appointment when I am talking to someone who knows I am calling for busines reasons.  I feel more awkward talking to people in a non business setting and trying to prospect them.





May 31, 2008 11:59 pm
Akkula:

I plan on doing a lot of cold calling.  It can be really brutal but I guess I don't feel as shy asking for an appointment when I am talking to someone who knows I am calling for busines reasons.  I feel more awkward talking to people in a non business setting and trying to prospect them.





 
Just wait until you start cold calling.  I think you will be shocked how difficult it is to get 50 decent contacts in one day by cold calling.
 
You should timeblock a variety of different activities throughout the day so you don't get burned out. 
 
Some of the activities:  cold call businesses, cold call residences, cold call centers of influence and network, go to networking meetings (CPA's, Estate Atty's, etc.), cold walk businesses, cold walk residences, host events for prospects/clients, write thank you notes, and many others I'm not currently thinking of.
 
Until you get some accounts, you should probably be doing prospecting activities 90% of your time.  If you are still in pre-production, you should be building your cold calling lists now.  You need to have enough numbers to dial away without hanging up all day, every day for a long time.
 
 
Jun 1, 2008 12:02 am

Thanks, I have about 1500 names built up and I am working on more.  I have heard stories about people getting pretty burned out by just cold calling.  I'll probably try to hit up the chamber of commerce as well. 

Jun 1, 2008 12:16 am
Akkula:

Thanks, I have about 1500 names built up and I am working on more.  I have heard stories about people getting pretty burned out by just cold calling.  I'll probably try to hit up the chamber of commerce as well. 

 
Be careful with Chambers.  They are a common starting place for many advisors.  Most of the people I've come across at Chamber functions were not qualified and it was more a waste of time than anything else.
 
You should be doing things that others aren't doing.  Be creative.  Use your hobbies or things you might have a passion for.  Join organizations because you believe in their purpose.  For instance, if you have a relative who has down syndrome and you believe in doing things to help an organization that deals with that, then join the national down syndrome association.  If you are a big golfer, find a way to incorporate golf into your prospecting methods.
 
If you join an association or a club, try to meet the people in charge.  Ask how you might be able to take a leadership role.  That is how people will notice you and you'll get to know people.  But you have to be there for the right reasons, otherwise you're wasting everyone's time.
Jun 1, 2008 7:55 am

I agree with Snaggle's comment about being creative.  I have a coworker who went to a small Chamber event recently and there were multiple advisors just from our firm there.  I've tried a few Chamber events and found them to be a waste.

 
Do something you have an interest in and realize you are first there to help the cause.  Your good intentions will play out in the end.  Be aware this approach is a slow one and is not what you should base your current business upon.  For now you are just a cold-calling machine.  Call businesses during the day and homes in the evening.
 
Those guys who are there from 9-3 have already arrived to their level of comfort.  They have put in the time and earned the right to call their day early.  In this business it is true that you work like no one else the first 5 years and then live the life everyone wants after that.  Do not be jealous of these guys.  Set their schedules as your target.
 
If you don't at least call that entire list of 1,500 names in a week you are not calling enough.  If you do discover you don't like cold-calling this business will be very difficult for you to succeed in then.  It is true that the people on the other end of the phone will not remember you ten minutes after the conversation.  Also, do not take your validation from those you cold called.  If you have to write yourselves notes before every call to remind yourself you are smarter than the prospects, then do it.
 
Remember, if you are not spending almost all your time once in production on prospecting you are going nowhere except out the door. 
Jun 1, 2008 9:02 am

Thanks for the advice.


Sometimes I feel like I am in the twilight zone.  I can understand the habits of the experience, successful reps, but I a can't figure out the people who have only been with the firm for a couple of years.


It seems that there are few who are building their business on their own.  Most have hooked up with teams. 


Maybe I am wrong, but being in a team with a very experienced advisor seems to be tantamount to being that advisor's employee. 

Jun 1, 2008 9:56 am

Being on a team can be a double edge sword. If they have a great infrastructure (i.e. seminar process, or some other way of reeling them in) and you have a deal that allows you to gain from your success its great- they are bringing added value to you and your efforts will bear fruit for both you and the team. But many teams bring in a junior and just look at that person as a cold caller - let them call their ass off, they will probably fail anyway, then I'll get whatever they bring in.

 
Bondo has given you some great advice, and so has snaggle. Take it all to heart and run with it.
Jun 1, 2008 12:32 pm

I think you should clarify how you are cold calling. If you are trying to sell a product over the phone, that's a tough row to hoe. I've found it much easier to sell the appointment over the phone, primarily due to the fact most people won't send you a large sum to invest if they've never met you.


If you target primarily business owners, you are positioning yourself with a prospect base that has multiple needs (multiple cross selling opportunities), is used to writing large checks,  can make a decision quickly,   is usually sophisticated and doesn't need to be educated from square one, has large sums of money or is in control of said sums, and  refers often. 
 
It is also easier to just drop by that persons place of business to drop off the information so therefore it is a daytime activity. I seldom have problems with gatekeepers, maybe 1 in 20 dials. Strive to reach 20 contacts (can be accomplished early, from 9- 11:30 or so for me everyday, from 100 dials), and you should set at least 2 appointments from that activity.
 
Shooting for 10 kept appointments per week, just chatting with business owners at their office should uncover many opportunities for you to do well in this business.
 
I call with a product but frame it as a solution - pick your favorite- The reason for my call Joe is that we have an account that's paying a little over 5% tax free compared to your bank thats only paying 3-4% taxable. Can I get you some information on it? Prospect says yes- I have your address as 123 anytown street here in the hood, is that correct? By the way, if you like the idea we have an account minimum of $100,000 (or whatever), would that be available for you? Great. What I've been doing Joe is stopping by to hilight a few points and leave the information. I'll be your area tomorrow at 2:15, would that work for you? Boom, there's your appointment. 
 
Out of 20 contacts, there's your 2 appointments. Some days I'll get 6 appointments after only 7 contacts, other days I may only get 1 per 20 contacts. Last week for 75 new contacts I set 10 appointments (short week, Memorial Day). I agree the Chamber is a complete waste of time for a new adviser. Too many other brokers, in my opinion.
 
As a newbie, you should spend 15 hours a week on the phone for first calls( the more you do it the better you'll get) 10 hours for prospect callbacks, 15 hours on appointments and case prep, and 10 hours learning sales and investment strategies, so more like 40 hours of actual WORK (the 10 hours of reading and researching should be done after working hours) Too many people in the office 60+ hours a week "researching and watching the market" but only on the phone 5 hours are fooling themselves that they are actually working.
 
Stok
Jun 1, 2008 1:40 pm

The only hours that count are productive hours.  Personally, I would define productive hours as hours spent in front of clients or fighting to get in front of clients. 

Jun 1, 2008 9:59 pm
stokwiz:

As a newbie, you should spend 15 hours a week on the phone for first calls( the more you do it the better you'll get) 10 hours for prospect callbacks, 15 hours on appointments and case prep, and 10 hours learning sales and investment strategies, so more like 40 hours of actual WORK (the 10 hours of reading and researching should be done after working hours) Too many people in the office 60+ hours a week "researching and watching the market" but only on the phone 5 hours are fooling themselves that they are actually working.

 
Thanks to everyone for the great feedback.  I am sure a lot of people have benefited from your collective wisdom.  I am in pre production right now but I am trying to anticipate what may come.
 
Stockwiz, if I can have similar success to you with setting appointments (2 qualified appointments in 20 dials) I will be a happy man.  I also think your comments above about "researching and watching the market" reflect what I have seen with some of the 1-3 years of service folks I have seen in my office.  Generally I get the impression that there is a lack of prospecting.  Also, I am glad I can use the time going out for drinks and dinner with clients and wholesalers as part of my 60+ hours.  60 hours of cold calling could be a bit difficult.
 
I think I am going to use some kind of a point system to track my daily cold calling efforts.  I think if I can master this skill, I will be very successful.  Many of the newer people in my office seem to have an aversion to cold calling and they really like to only do networking with people they know.  While networking is good, I just can't seem to think how they are actually getting in touch with enough qualified prospects using only this approach.  I suppose they probably aren't getting in front of enough people.
 
Thankfully, I enjoy learning new ideas about investing and I also like doing research so I don't think it will feel like work to do these activities during non business hours.  This will allow me to concentrate on prospecting while I am at work.   
 
I also appreciate the product ideas you've presented regarding cold calling.  When you only have a few seconds to get the prospect's attention, I think you need to have a solution to quickly get them interested in talking to you.  Right now I am trying to think of some good products to lead with that fit together nicely for business owners:
 
1.  Retirement Plans (set in stone because of my extensive previous experience)
2.  Business Cash Management Services
3.  ???
 
Any ideas for other solutions most businesses will be interested in?  I am very familiar with retirement plans but the problem with them is their longer sales cycle.  I am hoping to get some other services for my marketing plan that are targeted to businesses that can help me establish relationships and generate PCs until I can get their retirement plan. 
 
Also, thanks to everyone for validating my impression that targeting business owners is the only way to go if you have high, wirehouse production goals.  I am not going to waste much time talking to residences unless I have some time to kill on nights and weekends.
Jun 1, 2008 11:20 pm

Most business owners I've encountered don't want to hear about funds of the month. Most business owners reinvest back into their businesses. Therefore, I think you will have a tough hill to climb if you focus on business owners. That said, you can be a savior (and be paid well) by setting up key-person and buy-sell plans for businesses. However, if you are going to work for a wirehouse, you won't get the training needed to make this work.



The moral of this is you'll have to work with individuals in order to survive.

Jun 2, 2008 9:08 am

Stok,

 
That is great stuff. I have been cold calling residences and getting maybe 10 conversations per 100 dials. The focus has to be getting a face to face appointment. Do you have any gatekeeper ideas?
Jun 2, 2008 11:17 am

My gatekeeper process is when they ask what the call is regarding I say I'm following up on tax information I sent. The prospect will think Taxes? I better get the call, then I  go into my tax free presentation when he/she  answers.

 
If I know it's a tough secretary, I'll call and just say "Please tell Joe that Stokwiz will call him at 2:15 today, thanks", then call at 2:15 because she knows he's expecting your call. Hey, it occasionally works.
 
If it's a really desirable prospect, I'll mail first so that when they say "is he expecting your call?" I can say "yes". If it's a gatekeeper who really takes pride in her work, I'll note that and call again another day with extreme urgency in my voice- "This is Stokwiz -I need to speak with Joe right away"! Of course, the gatekeepers from hell will be familiar with this strategy. Next time I'll just call early or late when the gatekeeper is not there and try to catch the prospect. If all else fails, and again it is a highly desirable prospect, I'll just stop by the business and say "I had a little time between appointments and wanted to stop in and introduce myself".
 
Most of the time though, I'll just go to the next number and call than waste time trying to get past the gatekeeper.
 
Stok
Jun 2, 2008 5:00 pm

HFS                                                                         Points                                           Daily Summary  Date __________


                                                                                                                                               Att    Cont  AM  AS  MO  NP


                                                                               75 att. 1 pt each  75   actual     HFS  _   ____      ___                            15 con. 2 pt         30   actual                                       


                                                                                Apt. set 5 pt       10   actual___  


                                                                                Apt. met 5 pt     10   actual___


                                                                                Callbacks 2 pts                ____  New Accts ___ New Assets _______


________________________________________Total Points 125  actual_______Comm _______ __________


________________________________________________________________________________________________<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />



as       am      mo    np                  ap    prosp    nw cont            as     am   mo   np 


HFS                                                                        Points                                           Daily Summary  Date __________


                                                                                                                                               Att    Cont  AM  AS  MO  NP


                                                                               75 att. 1 pt each  75   actual     HFS  _   ____      ___                            15 con. 2 pt         30   actual                                       


                                                                                Apt. set 5 pt       10   actual___  


                                                                                Apt. met 5 pt     10   actual___


                                                                                Total Points       125  actual____New Accts ___ New Assets _______


__________________________________________________________________Comm _______ __________


________________________________________________________________________________________________



as       am      mo    np                  ap    prosp    nw cont            as     am   mo   np 


HFS                                                                        Points                                           Daily Summary  Date __________


                                                                                                                                               Att    Cont  AM  AS  MO  NP


                                                                               75 att. 1 pt each  75   actual     HFS  _   ____      ___                             15 con. 2 pt         30   actual                                       


                                                                                Apt. set 5 pt       10   actual___  


                                                                                Apt. met 5 pt     10   actual___


                                                                                Total Points       125  actual____New Accts ___ New Assets _______


__________________________________________________________________Comm _______ __________


________________________________________________________________________________________________



as       am      mo    np                  ap    prosp    nw cont            as     am   mo   np 


HFS                                                                        Points                                           Daily Summary  Date __________


                                                                                                                                               Att    Cont  AM  AS  MO  NP


                                                                               75 att. 1 pt each  75   actual     HFS  _   ____      ___                           15 con. 2 pt         30   actual                                       


                                                                                Apt. set 5 pt       10   actual___  


                                                                                Apt. met 5 pt     10   actual___


                                                                                Total Points       125  actual____New Accts ___ New Assets _______


__________________________________________________________________Comm _______ __________


________________________________________________________________________________________________



as       am      mo    np                  ap    prosp    nw cont            as     am   mo   np 


HFS                                                                        Points                                           Daily Summary  Date __________


                                                                                                                                               Att    Cont  AM  AS  MO  NP


                                                                               75 att. 1 pt each  75   actual     HFS  _   ____      ___                             15 con. 2 pt         30   actual                                       


                                                                                Apt. set 5 pt       10   actual___  


                                                                                Apt. met 5 pt     10   actual___


                                                                                Total Points       125  actual____New Accts ___ New Assets _______


__________________________________________________________________Comm _______ __________


________________________________________________________________________________________________



as       am      mo    np                  ap    prosp    nw cont            as     am   mo   np 


          att        cont  am    as    mo  np                 att       cont   am    as    mo  np   Comm _______ 


HFS  _   ____            Mort ____   ____        ___  New Accts ___ New Assets _______                                  


Jun 2, 2008 5:04 pm

Akkula ,posted above is the tracking sheet that I use.  Didn't post to the forum like it is on Word, but you get the idea. Use chicken scratches for every contact, attempt, etc. and strive each day for 125 points.


 


Stok

Jun 2, 2008 5:35 pm

Stok,


             When you cold call the businesses in your area is it beneficial to call at say 7 or 8am to avoid the gatekeeper?
Jun 2, 2008 10:17 pm

I've tried, particularly with doctors and dentists but my contact ratio is so low I don't make a habit of it. Again, only if it's someone I know would be worth the hunt.

 
Stok
Jun 3, 2008 9:07 am

I have found that a lot of business owners (typically the "blue collar" business owners) prefer to get called late afternoon.  Many of them start early, but are busy giving orders, starting shifts, doing work, getting the day started, etc.  Many of them ask me to call back after 4:00 when their staffs knock off and they are done with their "work" for the day, and they are moving on to paperwork at their desks. 

 
Just a thought...