Getting cold feet

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Oct 2, 2008 10:57 pm

Hello everyone,

I recently accepted a position to start as a new Financial Advisor with EDJ and would start at the end of the year.  I am already licensed and have worked in the back office at another firm for 10 years.  I am happy in my current position and make a decent salary, but have always wanted to be an Edward Jones FA.  I am getting cold feet now with the market volatility and constant negative news.  I am fearful that it may be hard to get new clients to work with me when I tell them I am not only a new FA, but also don't have an office that I work out of.  Plus, most people that I talk to seem to be extremely scared about the market.  Any words of advice.  I know that noone can tell me what to do, I am just looking for some advice.  I used to always hear that a down market is a great time to start because it is a good opportunity to buy and to obtain clients that may not have been getting great service from their current FA.  However, this market volatility is now more than I have experienced in my career and I am considering tucking my tail between my legs and staying in my cozy salary position. 

Thanks for your time.
Ms. FA_2B

Oct 3, 2008 8:27 am

you should be scared. it's tougher now than ever to build a book. i hope you're taking over a large book, otherwise know it is going to be very difficult to gather assets in this environment where noone trusts any institution. good luck if you move forward with this.

Oct 3, 2008 10:25 am

Thanks EZ Money - I appreciate your honest opinion.  I only seem to get sugar coated answers from folks at Jones and my friends and family don't really understand the business nor do they fully understand what's going on in the economy.


Oct 3, 2008 11:02 am

Just so you know, it's difficult to build a business in any environment.  You think it's difficult now, just try to move a client who is happy doing the DIY thing when the market it going up. 


My advice is don't worry about what's going on in the market.  The investing principles you are going to be using don't change based on current market conditions.  Your client's goals don't either.  Just jump in and start kicking.  You'll either sink or swim and that will be based more on how hard you're kicking, not the temperature of the water you're in. 
Oct 3, 2008 11:47 am

Keep in mind that Spiff took over an existing office after working in the home office. Those of us who were lucky enough to do that have no clue how difficult it is to start a business from scratch, regardless of the current market environment.

 
I don't care what anyone says, this would be one hell of a time to try and get started in this business. I'm fighting to keep long-term investors in the market, and having very little luck with getting them to add to their investments right now.
 
I can't imagine trying to earn someone's trust enough to get them to even give you a check to put in money market--which has also been on shaky ground lately--in this environment, much less try and talk them into going into the market--all while working out of your car.
 
 
Oct 3, 2008 12:35 pm

You're an idiot. 

 
Yep, I took over an office of about $9MM that shrank to $6MM with people leaving for greener pastures.  I call that winning the lottery.  Yep, I worked in the home office for 5+ years.  That gave me tons of contacts and opened all the right doors.  That was some good networking time.  So I've been sitting on my big green chair for the last several years just watching the dollars and referrals roll in from that vast $6MM book I started with. 
 
So from your assessment I have no idea what it's like to doorknock, cold call, plan seminars, ask for referrals, etc.  I just rake in the new clients and all their money every month by osmosis. 
 
If this guy starts with Jones he probably won't be working from his car or starting from scratch as Jones is trying like crazy for that not to happen any longer.  But he'll still have to go through the difficult task of building an office.  And I don't care what market you start in, it's still difficult to grow your business. 
 
If you have some issue with the information I posted, fine, tell him where I'm wrong.  If you have a problem with me for taking over an office, fine, PM me with your thoughts.  Otherwise leave the personal shots at the door. 
Oct 3, 2008 12:35 pm

See if you can team up with someone who is experienced, and sit in on review meetings with clients. Even if you have to put off building your own business for a while, work for an hourly wage, etc. I would recommend this strategy in good times. Without experience, you are basically just a salesperson. With it, you are a professional who is adding instant value.

Oct 3, 2008 12:38 pm

FA-2B ..... in fairness to Spiff , he does indicate that this business is difficult in any environment. Bonus if you get an existing office.

All that being said , this time I would expect for new people it will pose additional challenges. Tough you bet , if you survive you will be awarded the Red Badge of Courage and with all the scars to prove it.
Oct 3, 2008 12:51 pm

An addendum to the above post I made. I know our Recruiting Department has experienced a percentage of accepted candidates that have withdrawn their application. Just an observation. Maybe their reality was impacted by the current sitaution and they decided to stay on the side lines. I can understand that from the perspective of a candidate just starting....TOUGH GIG

Oct 3, 2008 3:35 pm
Spaceman Spiff:

You're an idiot. 

 
Yep, I took over an office of about $9MM that shrank to $6MM with people leaving for greener pastures.  I call that winning the lottery.  Yep, I worked in the home office for 5+ years.  That gave me tons of contacts and opened all the right doors.  That was some good networking time.  So I've been sitting on my big green chair for the last several years just watching the dollars and referrals roll in from that vast $6MM book I started with. 
 
So from your assessment I have no idea what it's like to doorknock, cold call, plan seminars, ask for referrals, etc.  I just rake in the new clients and all their money every month by osmosis.  
 
If this guy starts with Jones he probably won't be working from his car or starting from scratch as Jones is trying like crazy for that not to happen any longer.  But he'll still have to go through the difficult task of building an office.  And I don't care what market you start in, it's still difficult to grow your business. 
 
If you have some issue with the information I posted, fine, tell him where I'm wrong.  If you have a problem with me for taking over an office, fine, PM me with your thoughts.  Otherwise leave the personal shots at the door. 
 
I don't have the first problem with anything you posted. I was just making the point that those of us who took over offices (me included) have no business telling potential applicants who are going to start from scratch that how hard they "kick" will determine their success or failure--especially in an environment like this. Would you start from scratch right now? Wait, let me answer that for you. HELL NO!
 
I don't care if you took over an office with $1 in assets; the fact is you had a place to bring  prospects, a BOA to answer the phone, a workstation, etc.
 
I agree that Jones glosses over the difficulty of succeeding when talking with potential applicants. They did the same with me. Jones is in a perpetual recruiting frenzy due to the crazy attrition. 
 
And FA_2B, you're getting sugar-coated answers because whichever Jones FA gets you to put their name down on your application as having referred you to the firm is 25% closer to winning a trip. And after you bust your tail bringing in all of your friends and family and then likely fail, the other guys in town get to inherit your accounts after you've done all the work. Make sense now?
Oct 3, 2008 3:41 pm

I visited their home office, Jones seems like a good firm. They tried to recruit me with $12m that was turning to $6m. The numbers didn't pencil out. I'm serious about trying to learn the business from somebody else, learning by trial and error pencils out over about ten years. Life is short and the earth's population is exploding, think outside the box.

Oct 3, 2008 3:42 pm

Crazy attrition? 

Oct 3, 2008 3:42 pm

it is tough in any envrionment but it's 10x as tough in this environment. I would wait and think long and hard before getting in.

Oct 3, 2008 3:48 pm

EZ...despite a lot of " silly " posts today ( I admit it ) as per my post on recent applications to our company. You are right on with the situation today. I personally would say to anyone that I knew think very long and very hard right now.

Oct 3, 2008 4:02 pm

don't do it. wait and jump in when these times have settled.

Oct 3, 2008 4:09 pm
Borker Boy:
Spaceman Spiff:

You're an idiot. 

 
Yep, I took over an office of about $9MM that shrank to $6MM with people leaving for greener pastures.  I call that winning the lottery.  Yep, I worked in the home office for 5+ years.  That gave me tons of contacts and opened all the right doors.  That was some good networking time.  So I've been sitting on my big green chair for the last several years just watching the dollars and referrals roll in from that vast $6MM book I started with. 
 
So from your assessment I have no idea what it's like to doorknock, cold call, plan seminars, ask for referrals, etc.  I just rake in the new clients and all their money every month by osmosis.  
 
If this guy starts with Jones he probably won't be working from his car or starting from scratch as Jones is trying like crazy for that not to happen any longer.  But he'll still have to go through the difficult task of building an office.  And I don't care what market you start in, it's still difficult to grow your business. 
 
If you have some issue with the information I posted, fine, tell him where I'm wrong.  If you have a problem with me for taking over an office, fine, PM me with your thoughts.  Otherwise leave the personal shots at the door. 
 
I don't have the first problem with anything you posted. I was just making the point that those of us who took over offices (me included) have no business telling potential applicants who are going to start from scratch that how hard they "kick" will determine their success or failure--especially in an environment like this. Would you start from scratch right now? Wait, let me answer that for you. HELL NO!
 
I don't care if you took over an office with $1 in assets; the fact is you had a place to bring  prospects, a BOA to answer the phone, a workstation, etc.
 
I agree that Jones glosses over the difficulty of succeeding when talking with potential applicants. They did the same with me. Jones is in a perpetual recruiting frenzy due to the crazy attrition. 
 
And FA_2B, you're getting sugar-coated answers because whichever Jones FA gets you to put their name down on your application as having referred you to the firm is 25% closer to winning a trip. And after you bust your tail bringing in all of your friends and family and then likely fail, the other guys in town get to inherit your accounts after you've done all the work. Make sense now?
 
I have ZERO vested interest in him becoming an FA for Jones.  In fact, I'd rather he didn't.  My LP could use a bit of a boost and I'm kind of tired of all the new guys dragging it down (there's some serious sarcasm there if you didn't catch it).  I have no interest in sugar coating anything for him.  I don't think Jones does a good enough job of screening out some of the weaker people in the biz.  Sometimes I wonder why in the world they would have hired me.   
 
With that said, I strongly believe that it doesn't matter whether you took over a book or not, it's incredibly difficult to build on it.  It's going to be difficult growing a business at any time in a market cycle.  The point I believe the guy was trying to make originally was that he's got cold feet BECAUSE OF THE MARKET.  My advice remains that he can't worry about the market.  Just plan on working his butt off for a long time before he stops to take a breath.  I know what it's like to think you can cruise for a while and one day wake up to find out you've got nothing in the pipeline.  It sucks to have to go back out and get it going again. 
 
I will say for this guy that this comment would make me a bit nervous:
 
However, this market volatility is now more than I have experienced in my career and I am considering tucking my tail between my legs and staying in my cozy salary position. 
 
This volatility is different than anything a lot of us have experienced in our short careers.  If you have a feeling of tucking your tail and hiding vs a feeling of how many people can I call and talk to today, perhaps the cozy salary position is the best place for you to be. 
 
 
Oct 3, 2008 4:13 pm

If you are scared now, how do you think that is going to come across to prospects when you start getting in front of people?

Oct 3, 2008 4:14 pm

If you have a job right now...keep it...if you don't..what do you have to lose.  We all came into this business thinking we were the next superstar advisor, and then reality hit.  This business pays like no other (especially Indy), but it IS NOT a cake walk.  My payout went from 32-35% to 90%(net net 72%) and with the markets the last few months, I'm starting to see "Jones like" checks.  It makes me sick....

Oct 3, 2008 4:18 pm
bspears:

  My payout went from 32-35% to 90%(net net 72%) and with the markets the last few months, I'm starting to see "Jones like" checks.  It makes me sick....

 
Interesting point.  I have not been in the business long enough to have experienced markets like this one.  I wonder how many existing advisors will get out of the business if their checks continue to suffer?
Oct 3, 2008 4:19 pm

It should be a good time for selling insurance, if you're just starting. Not the most delightful task, but if you have the license, what the heck. People are fearful and realize their mortality.