Best piece of advice for a rookie

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Feb 14, 2007 5:34 pm

I recently signed on to work for Merrill Lynch and am very excited about the opportunity.


If you had the chance to share one piece of advice with someone starting off, what would you say?


For the record, I have a very good feel for the amount of hard work, sacrifice and discipline required for success. I'm an excellent prospecter with great people skills. I feel comfortable with the main things needed to succeed. I'm looking to get very specific pieces of advice if possible. Thanks everyone.

Feb 14, 2007 6:29 pm

When you meet with new prospects, show them that you like them. On the phone and in person, speak with a smile coming through. Be a really good listener  - study and practice active listening techniques.


Always fall back on one thought, "failure is not an option".

Feb 14, 2007 7:16 pm

When you're making phone calls get up out of your seat and move around.  Motion creates emotion!

Feb 14, 2007 7:49 pm

Good point. When I am in one of my cold calling sessions I close the door to my office, kick off my shoes to let my dogs air out a little bit, and strap my wireless headset on. Once I get in an engaged conversation, I grab one of my mini footballs (courtesy of your friendly mutual fund wholesaler) and play a little catch while gabbing away.

Feb 14, 2007 9:29 pm
blarmston:

Good point. When I am in one of my cold calling sessions I close the door to my office, kick off my shoes to let my dogs air out a little bit, and strap my wireless headset on. Once I get in an engaged conversation, I grab one of my mini footballs (courtesy of your friendly mutual fund wholesaler) and play a little catch while gabbing away.


I do the same thing but I hold a Louisville Slugger that a wholesaler gave me while I'm on the phone. Gives me an extra boost of confidence.

Feb 14, 2007 9:49 pm
My Inner Child:

I do the same thing but I hold a Louisville
Slugger that a wholesaler gave me while I'm on the phone. Gives me an
extra boost of confidence.





I used to play with my 0.38 S&W Airweight revolver. I was such a closer.

Feb 15, 2007 8:27 am

Courage of your conviction!  If you stand for nothing - you'll fall for anything.

Feb 15, 2007 12:22 pm
NwesternMiracle:

I recently signed on to work for Merrill Lynch and am very excited about the opportunity.


If you had the chance to share one piece of advice with someone starting off, what would you say?


For the record, I have a very good feel for the amount of hard work, sacrifice and discipline required for success. I'm an excellent prospecter with great people skills. I feel comfortable with the main things needed to succeed. I'm looking to get very specific pieces of advice if possible. Thanks everyone.



It's hard to give you specific advice without knowing more about your situation.  What market are you going after?  What connections do you have now? Are you in a large metro area or a rural market?


Two things I will share with you...first of all, if you're like most new FA's, you better spend the VAST MAJORITY of your time on the phone or meeting eyeball-to-eyeball with new prospects.  The amount of time you're actually engaged with prospects, regardless of what you say to them or how good or bad your people skills are, will determine whether you succeed or fail in this business.  Period.


The second thing you need is a system to process those prospects.  You're going to have to talk to people 5 - 10 - 15 times top bring them onboard.  You need a simple system to keep track of the hundreds of people you're going to have in your pipeline.  You need to contact these people monthly and if you don't have a system, you're going to be overwhelmed and spend precious time sorting through names and phone number, trying to figure out who to call next. (Actually, a lot of new brokers make an art out of this kind of avoidence behavior)


You better understand that you are not special.  Your people skills are not better then the 500,000 other brokers currently working your future prosepects.  you don't have their experiance or knowledge.  The only thing you can do is out-work them. Every single person who comes in this business proclaims their willingness to "work hard, sacrafice, and be disciplined."  Yet fully 50% are gone by the end of year 1 and of those who are left, another 50% are gone by the end of year 2.  You better be scared...and you better have your eyes wide open because the first couple of years of this business are extremely hard and the odds are against you making it over the hump.  That's reality.


Don't take this as discouragment, if you can make it, this is flat out the best occupation in the world...The money you can make, the lasting impact you can have on your clients, and the freedom to work when and with whom you want are unmatched by any other career. 


The best thing you can do right now is FULLY COMMIT to this business by speaking to 80-100 people a day for your first couple of years.  Do it however you want:  by cold call, door knocking, seminars, networking, or standing out in front of Macy's handing out your business card.   Do not waste your time with anything else.  CONTACT is all that matters.


Last thing:  If you fail, it will simply be becasue you did not contact enough people and invite them to invest with you.  That's it.  It will not matter how smoothe your approach is or how much product knowledge you have or what the market is doing or where you went to college or who your parents are or how many hours you spent at the office reading the Wall St. Journal or scanning your firms bond inventory.  It's all about contact. 


Good luck...I hope you make it.



Feb 15, 2007 12:59 pm

Billybob, thanks for the advice.


I really do feel that I have the work ethic you speak of. I'm quietly frustrated I have to get licensing out of the way because I want to start talking to people. I think the talking to 80-100 people a day is great advice, even if it's just talking to anyone I can find.


I stand here committed to success, no matter what it takes.

Feb 15, 2007 1:41 pm

Great post, Billybob. NW, don't beat yourself if you can't actually talk to that many people every day. That's a lot of actually getting through to people.


Also, quality counts. If you think about # of contacts and all the other activity numbers, it might look something like this:


# of contacts


# that you connect with in meaningful way


# of repeat contacts that are qualified (have interest and money)


And so on, I am sure your training system has its own # tracking system for critical activity.


Like Billy Bob says, it is about activity, and repeated contact, and tracking it seriously.


It IS a numbers game at first, don't let yourself think yourself out of that reality.

Feb 15, 2007 1:53 pm

One more thing, as you build this database of folks you can repeatedly contact, and invite for appointment:


Make sure you collect a data hook to use in your next contact with them, for example, when you call back:


" Mister Billybob, last time we talked, you said it's important to you to take a few steps to make your retirement more secure. And you asked me to check back with you about that. What IS it about having a secure retirement this is important to you.....


(Listen.)


Mister Billybob, you said __________ is important to you, in order to have a secure retirement. That is why we need to set a time to meet... what day of the week, and what time of day is generally best for you to stop by my (busy) office here for one hour...."


Point is, the whole purpose of your activity is to build credibility and urgency to get the appointment, NOT build the relationship, per se, over the phone, because too many flakey people will waste too much or YOUR valuable time.


I learned to get a face to face meeting. Do other advisors here think that is a good idea, or do you try to just open accounts by using the phone? I guess it depends on your business model, but I can assure you face appointments are harder, but very rewarding over the long term, in terms of penetrating the managable assets and serving your client well.


This is definitely a business about assets under management, don't be distracted by other things like sellling insurance, or even spending too much energy on geeky financial plans.


As your career evolves, how you keep track, and what you focus upon, it comes down to your relationship with your clients and the amount of their money you manage.

Feb 15, 2007 7:24 pm
AllREIT:


I used to play with my 0.38 S&W Airweight revolver. I was such a closer.


 


Tell Vinnie I said, "Hiyadoin'"!

Feb 15, 2007 8:59 pm

Who has time to cold call? I am busy meeting with people all day

Feb 16, 2007 12:18 am
doberman:
AllREIT:


I used to play with my 0.38 S&W Airweight revolver. I was such a closer.


 


Tell Vinnie I said, "Hiyadoin'"!





Vinnie says if YOU don't buy this "life insurance policy", YOU will be on the million dollar round table.








Feb 19, 2007 9:33 pm

is the MDRT mainly for the insurance side of the biz or is there something similar to our side?

Feb 20, 2007 3:01 pm

Buy a Book as fast as you can.  With recurring revenue not dead assets.

Jun 14, 2007 12:13 am

Build your book today like you want it to be 10 years from now!

Jun 14, 2007 12:36 am

First, get a mentor, or die in the field trying to re-invent the wheel.


Taken from this thread:


http://www.financial-planning.com/phorum/read.php?f=4003&amp ;i=31417&t=31413


Read the following books:
1) The Excellent Investment Advisor by Nick Murray OR The New Financial Advisor by Nick Murray. The NFA book is in print and you can get it from Nick Murray's website: www.nickmurray.com. The EIA book is no longer in print, so I'd check out www.amazon.com for a used copy. I would get the EIA book if you are going to be in commissioned sales and get the NFA book if you're going to be fee-based. (You might as well get both.)

2) Get the One Card System. Read the textbook cover-to-cover and use it VERBATIM. It is meant for those in the Life Insurance business, but anyone in financial services will benefit from using it (and so will their clients!)www.onecardsystem.com

3) How to Master Your Time by Brian Tracy. Most people in sales are only really working 20% of the time. Learn how to master your time and increase your effectiveness. This is an audio CD set that you can listen to in your car. www.briantracy.com

4) Burt Meisel's "Pocket Full of Sales". Get it from www.mdrt.com. It's only $10.

5) 2 more books: The Wedge and How to get your competition fired without saying anything negative about them. Both by the same author, Randy Schwantz. Save money by going to amazon.com.

6) Tele-$ales by Kerry Johnson. Go to www.kerryjohnson.com and order this set. You're going to be on the phone a LOT, so you might as well get good at it.

So, based on my "rookie recommendations", I'm recommending that the newbie:
1) develop a belief system (both Nick Murray books do that)
2) Have a client organizational system
3) Learn how to master your time so your belief and your organizational systems actually go to work FOR you.
4) Learn how to get a SALE.
5) Learn how to get the sale when in a competitive situation.
6) Learn how to use the phone to get results.

This can be an expensive "rookie list", but I assure you that it's one of the best.

Assume that you are in a position where you need to get clients. What would you do to become good at that endeavor?


I will also add to my list:
7) Only AFTER you have implemented my #1-#6, enroll in The American College for the ChFC, CLU or CFP program.
8) The Number by Lee Eisenberg. Read it and give copies away.
9) Get Inspired to Retire by David Saylor. Read it and give copies away.
10) The Incomparable Salesmen by Perrin Stryker
11) The complete idiot's guide to the Federal Reserve.
12) ANY AND ALL BURT MEISEL BOOKS.
13) How to say NO without feeling guilty by Connie Hatch and Patti Breitman.
14) Join NAIFA (and the YAT, if you're of the proper age).
15) Visit topgunproducers.com. No matter about your personal opinions about that site, they're about helping agents and advisors get INK ON PAPER. Worth checking out and participating in.
16) Selling to VITO series by Tony Parinello. If you're going to sell to businesses, you might as well learn how. I've only read one of his books, but it seems to be well written.


17) If your state participates in a LTC "Partnership" program (Like in California), do what it takes to offer policies that participate in the state Partnershp program. In CA, you need to take 8 hours of in-class insurance CE. It's better training than if you did the online CE on your own. This also helps you to stand out above some of your peers.


18)  Red Hot Introductions by Randy Schwantz.  One of the best books on learning how to get client referrals.

Many of these books were for myself to help me as I'm still "getting started". The Incomparable Salesmen book was written quite some time ago and is out of print. It's about the Life Insurance industry, the founding of the MDRT and the CLU credential.

In "How to say NO without feeling guilty", we can all sometimes feel that we have to take every appointment and take every client. This book is quite good in helping us realize the opportunity cost of being a whore to everyone.

Of course, the ChFC/CFP/CLU cirriculum helps to actually have some TECHNICAL knowledge to get the job done for a client and to have a greater feeling of mastery of the material. No, it's not a "master's degree", but it's better than the in-firm training many times over.

Join NAIFA, YAT (if you're age qualfies you) to network with others in your industry. Join TGP so you can have an additional forum for asking more SALES-RELATED questions. For some aspects of your case-design, you can always ask on here as well as TGP.

Jun 14, 2007 10:27 am
My Inner Child:
blarmston:

Good point. When I am in one of my cold calling sessions I close the door to my office, kick off my shoes to let my dogs air out a little bit, and strap my wireless headset on. Once I get in an engaged conversation, I grab one of my mini footballs (courtesy of your friendly mutual fund wholesaler) and play a little catch while gabbing away.


I do the same thing but I hold a Louisville Slugger that a wholesaler gave me while I'm on the phone. Gives me an extra boost of confidence.



Delaware was giving out baseballs...maybe we could get a pickup game going.

Jun 14, 2007 1:01 pm

Build a fee based business where possible.  You will starve at first, but you will never regret it in the long run.


NEVER sell something you do not completely understand.


NEVER make a sale that wrong for the client because you need the commission.  Or sell something with a higher commission and pass up a lower commission option that was better than the client.   Don't screw with people's money.


Good luck.