Introduction/Career Advice

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Dec 11, 2008 1:18 pm

Just wanted mainly to say Hi, I've been reading this board for a few months now in the shadows, and figured I'd make a name and post here and there a bit.

Whether it's important or not, quick back history: Graduated with an English degree a few years ago, landed a job with an Independent B/D in California doing licensing, direct transfers, and some marketing/product stuff. After about a year I moved back home to Washington and have since been working as assistant to an Independent planner that works mainly with retirees/55+. I'm scheduled to take my Life and Di test here in a few weeks, and then I got to decide whether to go for the 6 or the 7.

So anyway, I know long-term the agent I work for wants me to head toward my own production/sharing office expenses/etc, but in the meantime I'm on a salary and will be able to write joint cases here and there, etc.

So that's where I'm at in my relatively young career. I feel pretty fortunate because I think I'm in a good position to be successful, and I knew I could never go the Wirehouse/EDJ route - partially because I've already been sold on the Indy side of things, and partially because I, honestly, would never be successful door-knocking and cold-calling.

Dec 11, 2008 1:23 pm

And of course, any advice/pitfall warnings/wish I'd known that, is very much appreciated

Dec 12, 2008 9:48 am

How do I get one one of those gigs where you don't have to door-knock or cold-call?

Dec 13, 2008 9:37 am
buyandhold:

How do I get one one of those gigs where you don't have to door-knock or cold-call?

 
All you need is a really nice sign on the outside of your office or one of those ads in the paper showing the 12 other reps in your city and they will beat down your doors to invest their life savings with you.
 
Make sure you have the best smile of those 12 reps or they may go to someone else. I've said it before door-knocking and cold-calling won't work. You just have to look like a FA and the business will come to you. I have the queue line set up outside my office so that the walk-ins keep an orderly line. I hate it when they fight over who gets to give me the next rollover.
 
Clients can be so rude to each other...
Dec 13, 2008 9:39 am

Tell me that is sarcasm. Cold Calling works, how do you think most books got built? Being in a bank doesn't count as building a book(you are essentially just xfering money from one account to another not real hard, plus all you guys sell is annuities)

Dec 13, 2008 10:53 am
chief123:

Tell me that is sarcasm. Cold Calling works, how do you think most books got built? Being in a bank doesn't count as building a book(you are essentially just xfering money from one account to another not real hard, plus all you guys sell is annuities)

 
Of course it is. Some newbies think that is reality though. When I was at EJ, I saw dozens of them go down in flames thinking just like that.
 
Cold calling and doorknocking may be your idea of fun, but I got real tired of it. If there is a better way to make a living, why would you criticize it unless you've done it? I lived in your world for 3 years and found something much better...someday you may want to as well.
Dec 13, 2008 11:12 am

Cold Calling , Referrals and PLAIN HARD WORK ...for new or established professionals. Not a complicated formula. I do admit that after years it does get better but I have never found the " easy way " to succeed and grow your book of business.

Dec 13, 2008 11:15 am

I have lived in your world.. I was at Chase(Bank One in my area) for 2 years. Then moved on the EDJ and now finally run my own show. The problem I had with the bank was the lack of products or the focus on proprietary products.



Every time I xfer someone from a bank now, it seems that regardless of age,risk tolerance, amount of assets, etc.. they are always in an annuity. The other problem I find with banks and their advisors is that they are never in the same branch or position for very long. Bank tend to promote people who are doing really well and then replace them with someone who is terrible. I worked in 4 different branches is 2 years, not exactly stability but getting promoted in a bank(large banks) tends to mean taking over somewhere else.



You don't do any coldcalling at your bank? It is all strictly walk-ins and referrals from personal bankers/teller/whoever?



Dec 13, 2008 12:06 pm
chief123:

I have lived in your world.. I was at Chase(Bank One in my area) for 2 years. Then moved on the EDJ and now finally run my own show. The problem I had with the bank was the lack of products or the focus on proprietary products.

 
We can sell anything I could have sold at EDJ and more.

Every time I xfer someone from a bank now, it seems that regardless of age,risk tolerance, amount of assets, etc.. they are always in an annuity.
 
My mix is about 50% annuities, 40% MF, and 10% other.
 
The other problem I find with banks and their advisors is that they are never in the same branch or position for very long. Bank tend to promote people who are doing really well and then replace them with someone who is terrible. I worked in 4 different branches is 2 years, not exactly stability but getting promoted in a bank(large banks) tends to mean taking over somewhere else.
 
There are 7 of us for about 25 branchess. We each have anywhere from 3-7 branches depending on size. We came in as Sr. FA's and do not move into other positions unless our OSJ retires someday and he is about 35. I plan to retire from here.

You don't do any coldcalling at your bank? It is all strictly walk-ins and referrals from personal bankers/teller/whoever?
 
Most of our business is referrals or walkins. I spend about 2-4 hours a day on CD call lists or other marketing lists. All of the people I call, I consider warm leads.

Dec 18, 2008 2:58 am
norway401:

Cold Calling , Referrals and PLAIN HARD WORK ...for new or established professionals. Not a complicated formula. I do admit that after years it does get better but I have never found the " easy way " to succeed and grow your book of business.



Not that you'd listen to me, but you guys should try to chill out with the same canned cynical/sarcastic replies to every other post.. Although I'm sure people are often deserving of em, it doesn't mean everyone is. I'm sure you all know there is a very severe lack of young people entering the financial advisor profession, maybe be helpful and nice to a few of them?

Oh, and I'm not looking for an easy way to start... I just know that I would personally not be successful at cold-calling and door knocking. Nothing against it, I just know what I will and won't do, and if my only path into this business was through those two things, it'd probably be a no-go.

And although it's rare, there ARE other ways to become an advisor besides starting at an EJ or AXA or NY life and cold-calling, door-knocking your way to the top. I'm not speculating, I know from talking to hundreds and hundreds of reps just like you.

For example, at the broker/dealer I worked at, more than a few back-office staff slowly built a book up while on the payroll doing compliance or trading or what-not, and after they reached that critical mass of sorts, they quit their day jobs and struck out on their own.

I'm in a very SIMILAR position to that, as I'm salaried doing administrative/assistant stuff, while getting licensed and basically apprenticing under the Rep I'm working for. In time, the idea is for me to start off with 50-50 split cases and eventually (hopefully) move into my own production. I'm as cynical, and as much of a cold realistic as just about anyone - I don't think I'm being wildly optimistic and unrealistic here.

Every day I'm learning: helping with constructing newspaper and radio ads, scheduling and organizing seminars and dinners, working on our power points and learning how to set up, take down a projector and seminar room, making follow-up calls and scheduling appointments, sitting in on initial meetings and closes, filling out new business, mailing it off, and checking up on acats, rollovers, and transfers.

And of course, I come in here trying to introduce myself respectfully, and what do I get?

A template-style sarcastic bullshit reply from Credit. Where, exactly, in my post did I allude to believing that I could do no marketing or prospecting whatsoever? Is cold-calling the only marketing method known to man? When, exactly, did I mention that I will most certainly have customers "fighting in line" to roll over their accounts to me?

Be a bigger jackass.

Dec 18, 2008 8:03 am
IndyJosh:
norway401:

Cold Calling , Referrals and PLAIN HARD WORK ...for new or established professionals. Not a complicated formula. I do admit that after years it does get better but I have never found the " easy way " to succeed and grow your book of business.



Not that you'd listen to me, but you guys should try to chill out with the same canned cynical/sarcastic replies to every other post.. Although I'm sure people are often deserving of em, it doesn't mean everyone is. I'm sure you all know there is a very severe lack of young people entering the financial advisor profession, maybe be helpful and nice to a few of them?

Oh, and I'm not looking for an easy way to start... I just know that I would personally not be successful at cold-calling and door knocking. Nothing against it, I just know what I will and won't do, and if my only path into this business was through those two things, it'd probably be a no-go.

And although it's rare, there ARE other ways to become an advisor besides starting at an EJ or AXA or NY life and cold-calling, door-knocking your way to the top. I'm not speculating, I know from talking to hundreds and hundreds of reps just like you.

For example, at the broker/dealer I worked at, more than a few back-office staff slowly built a book up while on the payroll doing compliance or trading or what-not, and after they reached that critical mass of sorts, they quit their day jobs and struck out on their own.

I'm in a very SIMILAR position to that, as I'm salaried doing administrative/assistant stuff, while getting licensed and basically apprenticing under the Rep I'm working for. In time, the idea is for me to start off with 50-50 split cases and eventually (hopefully) move into my own production. I'm as cynical, and as much of a cold realistic as just about anyone - I don't think I'm being wildly optimistic and unrealistic here.

Every day I'm learning: helping with constructing newspaper and radio ads, scheduling and organizing seminars and dinners, working on our power points and learning how to set up, take down a projector and seminar room, making follow-up calls and scheduling appointments, sitting in on initial meetings and closes, filling out new business, mailing it off, and checking up on acats, rollovers, and transfers.

And of course, I come in here trying to introduce myself respectfully, and what do I get?

A template-style sarcastic bullshit reply from Credit. Where, exactly, in my post did I allude to believing that I could do no marketing or prospecting whatsoever? Is cold-calling the only marketing method known to man? When, exactly, did I mention that I will most certainly have customers "fighting in line" to roll over their accounts to me?

Be a bigger jackass.



You should change your name to "Secretary Josh." Since none of us have any experience in being a secretary, like you do, we can't offer much help about how to make the transition.

Dec 18, 2008 8:04 am

The thing to remember, indyjosh, is that as an independent you will have to foot the bill for ALL marketing costs. On top of that there is no salary. The reason you've gotten the responses you've seen is because people don't start out independent in this industry a couple yrs out of school. There are guys that spend yrs building up a large book at a wirehouse or edj-type company then flame out when they go indy. Are you really ready to foot the bill for rent, licensing, ticket charges, supplies, e&o insurance, marketing costs, etc without having a book of business already established? And an an indy broker there's no salary, you probably already knew that though.

Dec 18, 2008 11:50 am

Thanks 3rdyrp2 for a non-sarcastic, legit reply. Yeah I realize all that stuff, and I have no delusions of anything happening overnight. But, once I have enough of my own clients, and enough of my own money saved up, I think it's legitimate to think that I could ditch my salary, start sharing office costs and expenses, and essentially go from employee to partner. The rep I work with is thinking along the same lines.

And hank, thanks for the obligatory prick comment.

Dec 18, 2008 12:08 pm
IndyJosh:



... honestly, would never be successful door-knocking and cold-calling.

 
At some point in your career, I bet you will have to do one of these 2. Have you told your boss that you don't think you can door-knock or cold-call?? Is he OK with that??
Dec 18, 2008 12:11 pm
IndyJosh:

Thanks 3rdyrp2 for a non-sarcastic, legit reply. Yeah I realize all that stuff, and I have no delusions of anything happening overnight. But, once I have enough of my own clients, and enough of my own money saved up, I think it's legitimate to think that I could ditch my salary, start sharing office costs and expenses, and essentially go from employee to partner. The rep I work with is thinking along the same lines.

And hank, thanks for the obligatory prick comment.



You're welcome, secretary girl.

Dec 18, 2008 12:33 pm

Hey, IndyJosh, don't take these guys too seriously.  With all the crap that we've dealt with over the last 12 mos. or so, it would take thrice daily encounters of hot monkey love to mellow the crew out.  Or maybe that IS the problem...maybe some of these guys are ONLY getting Monkey Love...

 
On a helpful note, your obvious ability to put together a cogent thought here, and your English degree (see Garrison Keillor for helpful career choices for English majors) would lead me to believe you have verbal skills.  Coming from a similar background, I've built my business on seminars.  I would encourage you to pick a topic that you can master, I mean totally and completely be able to own it, and then start building client/prospect awareness of you as the Shell Answer Man of this particular topic.  You may have to cold call prospects to get them to come to your meetings in the beginning, but slowly that will build.  In your current environment, perhaps your mentor would allow you to leverage off the existing client base to do a "bring a friend" meeting until you were confident enough to venture forth on your own.
 
However you do it, I'm convinced that seminars still work.  It's just finding a topic that you  can really groove on that's the key.
 
Another thought...Don't know where you are geographically, but you might be better served looking up a regional firm that would allow you to operate within a structured training environment, as opposed to being indentured to your current wheelwright.  Don't know the dynamic of your set-up, but I came up through the old AGE system, which in my branch at least, was a nurturing and encouraging (I think I just got a run in my hose using those terms) environment.  I think the regionals, few though they be, still have a better approach to training.  I wouldn't be doing this today if I had to knock on 16,473 doors, or survive a 16 month experience in a bullpen cubefarm.
Dec 18, 2008 12:41 pm

Yeah Credit...  he's a big believer in Seminar prospecting supplemented with referrals, and once I can afford the upfront costs, the idea is that I'd be free to run my first few with him helping, and then eventually completely on my own.

Besides, we work mainly with 55+, which if I'm not mistaken, have some stricter laws regarding prospecting?

Dec 18, 2008 12:59 pm
IndyJosh:

Yeah Credit...  he's a big believer in Seminar prospecting supplemented with referrals, and once I can afford the upfront costs, the idea is that I'd be free to run my first few with him helping, and then eventually completely on my own.

Besides, we work mainly with 55+, which if I'm not mistaken, have some stricter laws regarding prospecting?



You are mistaken. Again. As usual. Typical for a secretary. Nothing personal.

Dec 18, 2008 1:02 pm

2wheeled - Thanks for partially restoring my faith in humanity. The funny thing is, when I worked at my old BD, I used to meet a ton of reps at different functions, and they were always insanely helpful, supportive, and willing to give advice to the younger people in the business. I guess it's just internet anonymity...

And I've heard that regionals are a really great way to learn/get your foot in the door/etc. If it makes sense, I think I'm sort of thinking to stay on the road I'm on until there's a dead-end? 1-2 years go by and I'm not seeing any real progress, I think I'd definitely re-evaluate and seriously consider other options.

Also, dunno if they qualify as a regional, but before I took this job I interviewed and was offered with NW Mutual, just decided it wouldn't be a good fit. I'm sure with a degree and experience in the industry, I could walk into a lot of places and they'd consider me a good bet...

Dec 18, 2008 1:05 pm

Yeah Hank, but what I lack in secretary skills, I make up for with killer BJ's.