EJ career?

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Mar 5, 2007 5:31 pm

Hi everyone, first post.  Currently I am going down the road of a career change and am looking at EJ simply because of their access to rural markets.  200k 300k 400k not looking to net that.  I have a few questions about EJ but I'll give you a bit of career information about me.  I'm a business owner who built a service industry business from scratch up to 2 offices and 25 employees in 5 years.  Got to that point, looked around, especially at all the crap I had to deal with from employees, and scaled back considerably.  Customers, selling, rejection, business building, etc no problem.  It's the employees I absolutely hate dealing with (crying whining dirtbags who can barely produce enough to cover their wages!!!!! ok got that off my chest)


My questions aren't Yes EJ or No EJ, I'm a savvy businessman and can make my own decisions, I'm looking for more specific information:


1.  Rate of return for direct mailings - # of phone calls and # of face to face meetings gained per XXXXX mailings.  Got any hard numbers?


2.  Cold calling - Pre qualified list vs phone book and rates for either or both.


3.  Seminars (I love to talk in front of people) easy to get going and some rates of return? 


4.  How is the DNC list is affecting cold calling especially in rural areas (70,000 town with little outlying population)


5.  Any EJ IR's from rural areas care to chime in?  I'm trying desperately to get out of urban America and back into real America so comparing EJ to large brokerage houses isn't of value since they aren't an option, unless they're moving to towns of 30k people. :)


6.  If you could describe the culture in EJ would you point to liberal or conservative?  Wanting to live in real America, which is overwhelmingly conservative, it's an issue with me.  I don't want to see EJ donating $1000's to Hillary and have my clients call me and say "Wha????" or have to meet them on the street and have to explain that one, how embarassing.


7.  Towns of 1000 or less in population worth canvasing?  I love small towns and people who live in them, just wondering what kind of reception you got when and if you did it.  Ah crap another salesperson? wow he must be lost? or alright company!!



Thanks in advance for your time in responding.


Mar 5, 2007 5:58 pm

Uhh, Your first source ought to be that book that they throw at your front door every other month.


Look in the yellow pages. Are there EDJ offices in your town already? Then go ask one of those guys. He'll be thrilled to serve you lemonade all day, recruiting is one of those things that'll earn him a big ole "Att'a Boy!" (Not that I disagree!)


Second, see if there are any regional firms in your area. This is the sort of business that has aged beyond the "Virgin territory" myth. Most places that have investable cash have people around looking to broker investments for it.


Third is the insurance company route. And if there isn't a Banker's Life (just using a name of a company I knew sold annuities, at least) in the town, they might want to back you up in your pursuit of establishing one.


I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Jones (although I determined that they weren't for me and that the one man branch paradigm is the stoopidest idea I ever heard of!) I'm just saying that there are worlds, solar systems, galaxies of other ideas besides Edward D Jones or a big city wirehouse. 

Mar 5, 2007 6:02 pm

 "Wanting to live in real America, which is overwhelmingly conservative, it's an issue with me. "


BTW, as a REAL AMERICAN who lives in New York! Get over yourself! Learn to leave your politics and religion at the door!

Mar 5, 2007 6:06 pm

kerho-I am just starting year 2 with Jones and can tell you what
(little?) I have learned.  Jones does very well in smaller market
areas, as their "style" works best there.  They are a mom and pop
shop to me.  They are not really trying to court the highly
affluent with anything new or different.  They still believe the
ICA guide is the bible.  From what I have seen, they are far and
away a conservative company on the political side.  Canvassing
small towns is well worth it, especially if there is a larger town with
30 minutes-many commuters, and many farmers as well.  And I guess
I don't consider the DNC to have stopped my business at all.

Mar 5, 2007 6:45 pm
theironhorse:

kerho-I am just starting year 2 with Jones and can tell you what (little?) I have learned.  Jones does very well in smaller market areas, as their "style" works best there.  They are a mom and pop shop to me.  They are not really trying to court the highly affluent with anything new or different.  They still believe the ICA guide is the bible.  From what I have seen, they are far and away a conservative company on the political side.  Canvassing small towns is well worth it, especially if there is a larger town with 30 minutes-many commuters, and many farmers as well.  And I guess I don't consider the DNC to have stopped my business at all.



Thank you for your response Iron.  Have you ever tried direct advertising and have any numbers on ### distributed vs actual calls or meetings?  Trying to formulate my ad plan at present and am looking for numbers.  Been advertising for many years but in a different industry so don't have the numbers.  Also as mentioned above, yellow page ads:  currently I spend about 30k a year for them but am wondering if you have any numbers on effectiveness in smaller markets.  I honestly don't remember my parents ever getting a book or even looking in one LOL

Mar 5, 2007 6:48 pm

there is an icon on the top of your screen it says "search". if you can not find info about EJ on this form you aren't looking.

Mar 5, 2007 6:48 pm
Whomitmayconcer:

 "Wanting to live in real America, which is overwhelmingly conservative, it's an issue with me. "


BTW, as a REAL AMERICAN who lives in New York! Get over yourself! Learn to leave your politics and religion at the door!




Never, you'd be surprised at the number of people who respect you for even paying attention. 

Mar 5, 2007 6:49 pm
skolbrother:

there is an icon on the top of your screen it says "search". if you can not find info about EJ on this form you aren't looking.



Already did that, no information on EJ direct mailings, seminar numbers, canvasing areas of 1000 population etc.  All needed in formulating a proper advertising plan.

Mar 5, 2007 7:03 pm

One thing I think I can say for certain is that seminars are a lower volume, but much higher success rate than direct mail or cold-calling.  A good seminar with 30-40 people can easily produce a high level of success, unless you are in Florida where it's just considered a free meal for seniors...

Mar 5, 2007 7:22 pm

Seminars are much better than mailing.  I have used a list and
then followed up with a doorknock, and it has worked ok-still in the
process of using it, so results tbd.  I advertise in the local
community paper, with little $ to show for it.  I have received
probably 10-15 calls in the last 12 months from people who found my #
on the net at the Jones website.  I have never had a client tell
me they contacted me by yellow pages-I would imagine veteran producers
would say the clients you want don't look for financial planning in the
yellow pages anyway.

Mar 5, 2007 7:53 pm
theironhorse:

Seminars are much better than mailing.  I have used a list and then followed up with a doorknock, and it has worked ok-still in the process of using it, so results tbd.  I advertise in the local community paper, with little $ to show for it.  I have received probably 10-15 calls in the last 12 months from people who found my # on the net at the Jones website.  I have never had a client tell me they contacted me by yellow pages-I would imagine veteran producers would say the clients you want don't look for financial planning in the yellow pages anyway.


My initial thought was yellow pages don't work but would be interested to see numbers.  I'd be interested in your numbers for the direct mailing, even it some of it is your estimate.  You know if EJ has any pre-made flyers for newspaper inserts ready to go? just plug in your picture and phone numbers?  I know Gannett publishing has some killer deals on printing in mass quantities, full color double sided 8x11 glossy paper for 1/2 what you can get it for locally.  Last time I bought was for 50k of them for $150/1k, dirt cheap.  Great for handing out to clients with a business card attached, harder to lose and it's got a big picture of you on it so they don't forget.

Mar 5, 2007 9:23 pm

Kerho, Jones has dozens of pre-formatted fliers and ads for newspapers.

But my recommendation is don't waste your money. If you want to run an

ad, run the same one, every week, same place, same paper. It is about

exposure, not impulse buying like an early-bird special at the local spuds

n' suds. But don't expect calls from any type of ad, yellow page

placement, etc. in this business.



Jones also has monthly Focus articles that many newspapers will run for

free. They are just informative articles on common financial topics (taxes,

investments, IRA's, etc.). Those are good for exposure, and can often be

submitted for free. We submit them, as does the local Morgan Stanley

office (they have their own version, but same exact concept). They run in

weekly local papers.



One thing I have found very lucrative has been teaching finance classes

through the local high school (continuing ed.), the Chamber of

Commerce, or other comparable venues. Jones has a 5 or 6 class (can

compress) series. It is not a seminar - it is more of a formal classroom

style series on different investments and planning. I usually get 7-25

people in these classes, and always get at least 3-5 decent acccounts out

of each one (sometimes more). This has REALLY helped establish a

presence in my town.



Remember, this is not like many other businesses. This is not retail, or

F&B, or even a typical "service" business. Advertising campaigns are not

going to get you the type of clients you want. It is about exposure to the

right people (w/money, CPA's, attorneys, business owners, retirees/soon-

to-be-retired, etc.) and referrals from the same. Don't waste time and

money advertising to 70% of the people you don't want as clients.



Yes, some people have run effective ad campaigns and gained clients that

way. But to me, that is more appropriate for a "boutique" or specialty

firm that can target their audience somehow through the appropriate

channels.

Mar 6, 2007 8:01 am
kerho:

Hi everyone, first post.  Currently I am going down the road of a career change and am looking at EJ simply because of their access to rural markets.  200k 300k 400k not looking to net that.  I have a few questions about EJ but I'll give you a bit of career information about me.  I'm a business owner who built a service industry business from scratch up to 2 offices and 25 employees in 5 years.  Got to that point, looked around, especially at all the crap I had to deal with from employees, and scaled back considerably.  Customers, selling, rejection, business building, etc no problem.  It's the employees I absolutely hate dealing with (crying whining dirtbags who can barely produce enough to cover their wages!!!!! ok got that off my chest)


My questions aren't Yes EJ or No EJ, I'm a savvy businessman and can make my own decisions, I'm looking for more specific information:


1.  Rate of return for direct mailings - # of phone calls and # of face to face meetings gained per XXXXX mailings.  Got any hard numbers?


2.  Cold calling - Pre qualified list vs phone book and rates for either or both.


3.  Seminars (I love to talk in front of people) easy to get going and some rates of return? 


4.  How is the DNC list is affecting cold calling especially in rural areas (70,000 town with little outlying population)


5.  Any EJ IR's from rural areas care to chime in?  I'm trying desperately to get out of urban America and back into real America so comparing EJ to large brokerage houses isn't of value since they aren't an option, unless they're moving to towns of 30k people. :)


6.  If you could describe the culture in EJ would you point to liberal or conservative?  Wanting to live in real America, which is overwhelmingly conservative, it's an issue with me.  I don't want to see EJ donating $1000's to Hillary and have my clients call me and say "Wha????" or have to meet them on the street and have to explain that one, how embarassing.


7.  Towns of 1000 or less in population worth canvasing?  I love small towns and people who live in them, just wondering what kind of reception you got when and if you did it.  Ah crap another salesperson? wow he must be lost? or alright company!!



Thanks in advance for your time in responding.




Though it seems you are a very business-savvy person, it seems as though you missed two key parts of the business plan where Jones dictates what you do.  First is doorknocking, you won't be doing to much mail, less calling, you will do seminars, but primarily, you're busting down doors to prospect, not calling.  Second, don't worry about which type of towns to prospect in, you will get a territory from Jones and prospect within it.  Good luck.

Mar 6, 2007 10:52 am
Broker24:

Kerho, Jones has dozens of pre-formatted fliers and ads for newspapers.
But my recommendation is don't waste your money. If you want to run an
ad, run the same one, every week, same place, same paper. It is about
exposure, not impulse buying like an early-bird special at the local spuds
n' suds. But don't expect calls from any type of ad, yellow page
placement, etc. in this business.

Jones also has monthly Focus articles that many newspapers will run for
free. They are just informative articles on common financial topics (taxes,
investments, IRA's, etc.). Those are good for exposure, and can often be
submitted for free. We submit them, as does the local Morgan Stanley
office (they have their own version, but same exact concept). They run in
weekly local papers.

One thing I have found very lucrative has been teaching finance classes
through the local high school (continuing ed.), the Chamber of
Commerce, or other comparable venues. Jones has a 5 or 6 class (can
compress) series. It is not a seminar - it is more of a formal classroom
style series on different investments and planning. I usually get 7-25
people in these classes, and always get at least 3-5 decent acccounts out
of each one (sometimes more). This has REALLY helped establish a
presence in my town.

Remember, this is not like many other businesses. This is not retail, or
F&B, or even a typical "service" business. Advertising campaigns are not
going to get you the type of clients you want. It is about exposure to the
right people (w/money, CPA's, attorneys, business owners, retirees/soon-
to-be-retired, etc.) and referrals from the same. Don't waste time and
money advertising to 70% of the people you don't want as clients.

Yes, some people have run effective ad campaigns and gained clients that
way. But to me, that is more appropriate for a "boutique" or specialty
firm that can target their audience somehow through the appropriate
channels.



I'm used to gaining 5-7 clients on a 10,000 newspaper insert run costing $1,200-1,500.  Just looking for numbers really in forming this plan.  Knocking on doors when it's 20 below isn't gonna work.  I like the education/seminar idea, when starting out time is easier to come by than money.

Mar 6, 2007 11:25 am

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


Hold up there cowboy!


You are not hearing what is being said and you are like your own lemonade stand! You are spending more time convincing yourself of the goodness of your idea than you are hearing why it's NOT a good idea.


Keep in mind that seminars aren't free and the amount of time required to fill a seminar room is daunting, especially if you have a clock ticking overhead vis a vis AUM/Production levels. You have the expense of the room, of the eats, of the invites. You need to follow up on the invites at least three times to remind them of the seminar (and there are danged few people who will want to get into their car at 20 below when the push comes to the shove). You may say "Well, I'll use my office for the seminar!" to which I'll say, that will reduce your participation by 87.5%. Only one eighth of the people who would come to a seminar will come to a seminar they see as being on your turf.


You may be used to picking up clients from newspaper advertising at the rate you mention above. I say it depends on the product you are offering, and what you are able to do with it. If you are offering something that people need, like car insurance, you have a better response rate in that there are always a percentage of people who are up for renewal. If you are selling milk, and you are willing to advertise it as for sale at a loss leader price, then you are that much further ahead. But when you are advertising something that people don't see as a "gotta have it" <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />AND there is Jack POOP that you can do in terms of special offer (you can't offer American Funds at 20% off this week only!) then you are limited as to your maneuverability. Maybe you could advertise CD's or Tax Frees, but, from what I've heard, they are hen's teeth rare at EDJones and the problem with them everywhere is circling the inventory and lead times Vs the newspaper deadline (you need to give them copy on Thursday for bonds you are advertising on Sunday to be purchased on Monday or so.)


This business is not like the business you are coming out of. This business is very highly regulated, you might want to look at the Legal Issues thread and read RRBDLawyer's post about the nasd rulings. People get seriously banged for doing what a Mom/Pop shop owner would see as just plain ole Good Bidness sense.


And do yourself a favor steer cleer of Jones until you have investigated all


 of your other options and decided that you have no other choice.

Mar 6, 2007 11:35 am

Whom, that was a good post. Kerho, be careful about working with metrics from other industries.  I ran a newspaper ad for six months. It was a twice a week paper. Every Monday had either an ad for me, or an article by me with my picture (they rotated), for SIX MONTHS.  I may have gotten ONE call from this.  I used the Jones canned ads and canned articles. I'm in a fairly metropolitan area. I had a friend who was in a small town, and he could run a tax-free rate and get 5 to 10 calls per ad, amazing.

Mar 6, 2007 12:41 pm

kerho,


I hope you know that you MUST use ads, seminar literature and seminar script that have been "pre-approved" by St.L  failure to do so can result in dismissal.

Mar 6, 2007 3:36 pm
compliancejerk:

kerho,


I hope you know that you MUST use ads, seminar literature and seminar script that have been "pre-approved" by St.L  failure to do so can result in dismissalFROM THE INDUSTRY!

Mar 7, 2007 2:34 am

Kerho,


    I work for Jones, and if your income goal only 100k or so annually, please don't apply.  We don't need mediocre brokers with little ambition.  That's only 250k gross a year, which is below standard out 7 or so years.  Do yourself a favor and look at some indy firm or bank.

Mar 8, 2007 11:06 pm
rankstocks:

Kerho,


    I work for Jones, and if your income goal only 100k or so annually, please don't apply.  We don't need mediocre brokers with little ambition.  That's only 250k gross a year, which is below standard out 7 or so years.  Do yourself a favor and look at some indy firm or bank.



I said I wasn't looking to gross 200k+ which meant close to 200k would be great but I'm looking to go to rural America, I mean really rural.  But I understand what you're saying and appreciate your response.