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Jan 31, 2010 3:43 pm

I've been lurking on this forum for months and thought I'd jump in on the discussion.

If you could ask some of the top financial advisors/planners in the country 2-3 questions, what would they be?

Jan 31, 2010 8:44 pm

"How did you do it?

And I mean honestly.  Don't tell me you worked harder than anyone ever before."
 
I am in no way saying the top guys didn't bust their asses.  I am just saying there is something else to it.  The reason I say that is plenty of people bust their asses and fail, or just put up reasonable numbers.  Maybe it's luck, maybe it's connection, but in most cases I think someone figured out a way to go from A to D without the B and C.  That however is something people never tell.  It's like a magician's secret.
Feb 1, 2010 9:52 am
HAcoreRD:

"How did you do it?

And I mean honestly.  Don't tell me you worked harder than anyone ever before."
 
I am in no way saying the top guys didn't bust their asses.  I am just saying there is something else to it.  The reason I say that is plenty of people bust their asses and fail, or just put up reasonable numbers.  Maybe it's luck, maybe it's connection, but in most cases I think someone figured out a way to go from A to D without the B and C.  That however is something people never tell.  It's like a magician's secret.
 
Large producers are different than those who are average. They think differently. They think big. And then they back it up with hard work. Many on this board are happy to bring in 5 million a year in new assets. Ok, that puts dinner on the table, but it's not gonna get anyone to mega producer status very quickly, if at all. Mega producers aim for the stars. And, even if they miss they hit the moon. Meanwhile the average producer down in low earth orbit is looking up at the moon saying "there is something they aren't telling us?" Not true! They are telling you everything. There are no secrets. Whose fault is it that that the average producer either aims too low or isn't willing to do the work needed to reach higher orbit?
 
I'll use myself as an example. 20 years ago, more or less, i worked with another broker. We were and are successful by every measure. Today, all these years later this guy out produces me by over a million dollars a year. He calls me a piker. And by his standard, I am a piker. That, even though we use the exact same business plan and process to approach the exact same market. The only difference between us; is when i let up on the gas and decided i needed a life, he kept the pedal to the metal. And he did for years longer than I. The difference, he makes about 1/2 million dollars more per year than i do.  
 
It's all about how you think and how willing you are to pay the price to make it big.
Feb 1, 2010 10:34 am

I think it's scary that someone outproduces BondGuy.

Feb 1, 2010 10:36 am

I also find most real big producers (not the wirehouse guy that has just inherited assets the past 35 years) treat their practice as a real business.  They do not see themselves as "producers" with a "payout".  They look at "revenue" and "expenses".  They essentially pay themselves a salary plus a large % of the profits.

Most small producers say "if I go to XYZ firm, and use ABC for investments, and if I do all the admin work myself and just rent a shoebox, then my payout will be 82.5%, and I only need to produce $228,000 to earn a decent living".  It's just a different mindset.
Feb 1, 2010 11:34 am

I don't think a guy who produces 2mil thinks about the business any differently from a 500k producer, they just think about life differently. I know guys with 100mil plus books who still work 75 hrs a week and derive their entire self worth out of their production. In most cases, they have little or no relationship with their family and thus are miserable outside of work. They feel good about themselves while at their job so they spend most of their time doing it. Everything else is a let down.  In reality everyone defines success differently. For me by the time 5pm rolls around I want to go home and see my wife and kids. Does that hurt my production ? Absolutely. Is that extra money worth more than dinner at home every night ? Not in my world.

Feb 1, 2010 12:59 pm
BondGuy:
HAcoreRD:

"How did you do it?

And I mean honestly.  Don't tell me you worked harder than anyone ever before."
 
I am in no way saying the top guys didn't bust their asses.  I am just saying there is something else to it.  The reason I say that is plenty of people bust their asses and fail, or just put up reasonable numbers.  Maybe it's luck, maybe it's connection, but in most cases I think someone figured out a way to go from A to D without the B and C.  That however is something people never tell.  It's like a magician's secret.
 
Large producers are different than those who are average. They think differently. They think big. And then they back it up with hard work. Many on this board are happy to bring in 5 million a year in new assets. Ok, that puts dinner on the table, but it's not gonna get anyone to mega producer status very quickly, if at all. Mega producers aim for the stars. And, even if they miss they hit the moon. Meanwhile the average producer down in low earth orbit is looking up at the moon saying "there is something they aren't telling us?" Not true! They are telling you everything. There are no secrets. Whose fault is it that that the average producer either aims too low or isn't willing to do the work needed to reach higher orbit?
 
I'll use myself as an example. 20 years ago, more or less, i worked with another broker. We were and are successful by every measure. Today, all these years later this guy out produces me by over a million dollars a year. He calls me a piker. And by his standard, I am a piker. That, even though we use the exact same business plan and process to approach the exact same market. The only difference between us; is when i let up on the gas and decided i needed a life, he kept the pedal to the metal. And he did for years longer than I. The difference, he makes about 1/2 million dollars more per year than i do.  
 
It's all about how you think and how willing you are to pay the price to make it big.

I agree with bond guy... To be a top producer you can't take your foot off the pedal for anything(family life included) and you must be working towards your goals 100% of the time( that doesn't mean prospecting for an hour and then stopping) or hanging out on internet forums during office hours..
 
Advisors make choices... and depending on your set-up(family income, wants, needs) everything varies..
 
For example... Someone producing $300K(would be fired at a wirehouse)at and indy taking home 80% before expenses..Doesn't take much and still probably bringing home $185K/year and in the midwest that is a heck of a living..Could they do more probably, but they chose to sacrifice their production/income for a family life(or whatever they choose to do, drink, travel, etc)
 
As many people have pointed out in the past, the only difference between big and small producers is choice and activity..
 
40-50 contacts/day is what it seems to take, repeated over 10-15 years, with no breaks. Increasing minimum account size along the way..
Feb 1, 2010 1:23 pm
Ron 14:

I don't think a guy who produces 2mil thinks about the business any differently from a 500k producer, they just think about life differently. I know guys with 100mil plus books who still work 75 hrs a week and derive their entire self worth out of their production. In most cases, they have little or no relationship with their family and thus are miserable outside of work. They feel good about themselves while at their job so they spend most of their time doing it. Everything else is a let down.  In reality everyone defines success differently. For me by the time 5pm rolls around I want to go home and see my wife and kids. Does that hurt my production ? Absolutely. Is that extra money worth more than dinner at home every night ? Not in my world.

 
 
Well said!
I did not move my practice to a Colorado ski town to sit in my office for 60+ hours a week!
I ski at least two to three day a week, sure I could work more and produce more but at what price?
Feb 1, 2010 2:52 pm

Go to RIA Biz.com and look up Luminous Capital to see an example of the kind of time a very high end team put in and still does to maintain at the top of their game.

Feb 1, 2010 3:03 pm
DodgerDraftpick:

Go to RIA Biz.com and look up Luminous Capital to see an example of the kind of time a very high end team put in and still does to maintain at the top of their game.

 
I read that a few months ago.  Great article.  But you're right.  They run thier practice as a business, have clients all over the country, and work like dogs.
Feb 1, 2010 3:56 pm


"Hou-Sear generally logs 11 or 12-hour days in the office,"



Isn't that about the norm, 11-12 hour days?

Feb 1, 2010 4:53 pm

I would like the phone numbers to their top 20 clients. They can keep the crap.

Feb 2, 2010 1:16 pm
Moraen:

I think it's scary that someone outproduces BondGuy.

 
Thanks Moraen!
 
It's best not to be too in love with yourself in this business. Being a top quintile producer in this biz is a lot like being a proud boat owner. No matter how big your boat is there always going to be someone with a bigger one. So, leave the ego at the dock,  enjoy the one you have, and don't worry about the other guy's boat.
 
There many many FCs who out produce me. To me it's not a big deal. I realize why they are bigger than I. The committment that level takes to achieve. I' am confident if I wanted to make the time/family trade offs once again, I could ramp it up and move to new heights.  But then i wouldn't have time to play with any of my toys.
 
And we all saw what all work and no play did to Jack Nicholson in the Shining!
Feb 2, 2010 1:49 pm

"And we all saw what all work and no play did to Jack Nicholson in the Shining!"

 
I don't know, Tiger Woods seems to strike a pretty good balance between work and play.
Feb 2, 2010 2:56 pm
BondGuy:
Moraen:

I think it's scary that someone outproduces BondGuy.

 
Thanks Moraen!
 
It's best not to be too in love with yourself in this business. Being a top quintile producer in this biz is a lot like being a proud boat owner. No matter how big your boat is there always going to be someone with a bigger one. So, leave the ego at the dock,  enjoy the one you have, and don't worry about the other guy's boat.
 
There many many FCs who out produce me. To me it's not a big deal. I realize why they are bigger than I. The committment that level takes to achieve. I' am confident if I wanted to make the time/family trade offs once again, I could ramp it up and move to new heights.  But then i wouldn't have time to play with any of my toys.
 
And we all saw what all work and no play did to Jack Nicholson in the Shining!

Aren't most top producers 15 years + veterans of the industry. Do you really see a lot of people starting from scratch and building it up in 5-8yrs(not inheriting)?
Feb 2, 2010 3:53 pm

I know guys six or seven years in, in the 750 to 1 mil range. Hard workers! The clock doesn't matter. Some grow at faster rates than others. Find a process that works for you and then work that process. When you set a goal, regardless of how high, once you commit to achieving that goal it is only a matter of time until you achieve it. It's the old , what would you do, how hard would you work if you knew you couldn't fail? Well, guess what? Set the goal, commit to it, i mean whatever it takes, just do it.  Do that and you won't fail. The 'if" is removed leaving only "when."

Feb 2, 2010 4:12 pm

So those guys built to 750-1mil in 6-7years? Can you give us an indication of what that takes? Schedule wise? Are they just pounding the phone 12 hours/day?

Feb 4, 2010 1:03 pm
Squash1:

So those guys built to 750-1mil in 6-7years? Can you give us an indication of what that takes? Schedule wise? Are they just pounding the phone 12 hours/day?

 
Just pounding the phone 12 hours a day? You make it sound so easy! But, yeah, that's exactly what they are doing.
 
 Most of these guys are working 10.  But all that time is phone time or client meeting time.
Feb 8, 2010 11:38 am
BondGuy:
Squash1:

So those guys built to 750-1mil in 6-7years? Can you give us an indication of what that takes? Schedule wise? Are they just pounding the phone 12 hours/day?

 
Just pounding the phone 12 hours a day? You make it sound so easy! But, yeah, that's exactly what they are doing.
 
 Most of these guys are working 10.  But all that time is phone time or client meeting time.

That gives me hope......Because sometimes it feels like I am alone(I know 3-4 advisors in the area who just sit in their office and d*** around... a guy told me once, if you aren't going to do anything, why even go in, better places to waste time)..
 
How many calls are they making in 10 hours?? 4-5(*100)?