Seeking honest advice, Waddell & Reed vs. Prudential

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Mar 2, 2010 7:06 pm

Hello all, I am new to this site but have been reading some posts recently this week.

I have been a financial advisor with Waddell & Reed for over a year now. I enjoy working there but I am really frustrated with the level of success I have seen. I am pretty strong at prospecting, I get in front of a lot of people each week and set up a lot of appointments each week. However, I am having a real hard time closing business. Seems like everyone puts me on delay or goes with someone else. I seem to be having a hard time building trust. I have working on my closing skills over and over, but its just not happening, no one can seem to figure it out. 

I was talking to a friend of mine that I really respect at church that recruits for Prudential. Had a long conversation with her and another Prudential rep. I am thinking I may have more success there given there name recognition, I do like doing insurance and annuity sales, but also like mutual funds. I find selling financial plans a bit tough. Prudential also does joint work with a senior advisor in the first year, I think that will help me develop my sales skills. At W&R, they send you out on your own the first day. Prudential also provides training for my wife to work with me as an assistant.  

So I am debating moving over to Prudential. Seems like a lot more support in helping me get off the ground more in this business.

I would appreciate anyones input. Especially those who have worked under either W&R or Prudential. 

Thanks

Mar 2, 2010 8:06 pm

I started at Waddell & Reed and jumped ship as soon as I completed the Series 7 and 66 exams.  In my early prospecting days I was constantly asked "Who?" when I mentioned where I worked.  Getting people to pay for a financial plan when you can only offer (in my opinion) a limited menu, works against you.
Prudential has the name recognition and the product line.  But you will find that insurance is the main line of business.  Everything else is an afterthought.  If you do not mind being an insurance salesman, the go for it.
But even with the products and the name recognition, it may not be any easier for you.  You'll be selling stuff no one really wants to buy - - until they need it and by that time they cannot get it (at a reasonable price...).

Mar 2, 2010 9:15 pm

I have only heard bad things about Waddell and Reed.  I would check out Jones before them.

Mar 2, 2010 9:33 pm

W&R is a okay place to start. As soon as you learn a little about the biz and the MFunds, Insurance, Planning......I would get out of there. As mentioned prior, Prudential is going to lean towards insurance based investments (even though they say they don't). They have a pretty popular 401k platform as well. The fact that you can work under a "senior" advisor may be beneficial. I am sure that will come at a cost to you.
If you can find an indy "senior" advisor that will make the same offer, that could be the best bet. If not, I would move over to Prudential knowing that you will most likely move again later on.
You have a few more years to get under you before you will really know if this is it for you. You have to be patient and not desperate. Waddell breeds desperate advisors. That is part of the problem I am sure. Selling Plans in the current environment is tough.
Good luck and let us know what you decide.

Mar 2, 2010 11:33 pm

When you say "limited success," what does that mean?  What's your AUM & production? 

 
Thanks for the answers so far. I have only about 900k in AUM and have only made about 18k. I have a separate home based business that I make my living on. Tired of putting all this time in and not getting much closed. I have about 34k in commissions that I feel I should be able to close this quarter but the clients seem to be dragging there feet. I feel they do not trust me. Every prospect I meet has never heard of W&R. Could that be a serious problem? Of course they tell me its not the problem. The atmosphere at W&R is not aggressive at all. Most of the advisors there seem kinda lazy to me. Maybe thats just me.
I am setting up 8-10 quality appointments a week, just can't close. My friend at Prundential, says my production should be much higher given the prospecting success that I am doing. These are my 3 concerns and why I am considering moving:
1. No name recognition at W&R
2. No joint work and training on how to close sales at W&R
3. W&R insists on pushing financial plan sales
Just concerned that if I move to Prudential, things will not change. I would have no problem at all selling more insurance products. 

Mar 3, 2010 12:07 am

When you say "limited success," what does that mean?  What's your AUM & production? 

 
 
Thanks for the answers so far. I have only about 900k in AUM and have only made about 18k. I have a separate home based business that I make my living on. Tired of putting all this time in and not getting much closed. I have about 34k in commissions that I feel I should be able to close this quarter but the clients seem to be dragging there feet. I feel they do not trust me. Every prospect I meet has never heard of W&R. Could that be a serious problem? Of course they tell me its not the problem. The atmosphere at W&R is not aggressive at all. Most of the advisors there seem kinda lazy to me. Maybe thats just me.
I am setting up 8-10 quality appointments a week, just can't close. My friend at Prundential, says my production should be much higher given the prospecting success that I am doing. These are my 3 concerns and why I am considering moving:
1. No name recognition at W&R
2. No joint work and training on how to close sales at W&R
3. W&R insists on pushing financial plan sales
Just concerned that if I move to Prudential, things will not change. I would have no problem at all selling more insurance products. 

 
If your concern is name recognition, you should work for a wirehouse or be the investment advisor at the bank.......
As far as the wires go, you should get a competitive salary to start, the prospects will be familiar with the name, and you'll have access to any investment product you want...........If you fail, so be it.....it won't be because prospects haven't heard of the firm.......If you succeed, you can choose to go elsewhere after a few years......
I know a lot of the advisors that post on this board hate the wires, but if you are just starting out, I think it is a great entry way into the business......
Good Luck.......

Mar 3, 2010 12:22 pm

W&R is a crap company. But that is beside the point. People don't buy company, they buy a good product. If they haven't heard of W&R then they are dependent upon you to sell them. Obviously, you aren't able to sell them. If you believe in and like the product you're selling, then the close is natural. Tell me, have you bought the plan or the products for your own portfolio? If not, then why should your clients? I bought a VA with a portion of my assets. When I sell a VA now, I explain to clients why I own one. Needless to say, I close a lot of VA's.

Jul 21, 2010 8:21 pm

Maybe one of the reasons you aren't able to close as well as you'd like is because you didn't qualify them first. They sound more like "suspects" than "prospects".  Take their temperature on why they want YOU before wasting a lot of time. They can get product anywhere, but why do they want YOU???

Jul 25, 2010 5:42 pm

Pjane007,

I am in the exam phase of W/R and am excited about joining but I guess I
have some butterflies as well. I’ve worked either in the service or
sales since I was 16 and am stoked that I am getting into this industry finally.
But yea I have some butterflies of course. Anyways, I have been lurking these
forums for a little while and finally decided to post.

What I’ve been hearing mostly about starting out at W/R is the first year is
HARD and everything else is basically a non/minor issue like product knowledge
your ability to sell. From what I understand it’s our job to get our name in
the market and outside of the office as fast as we can and on a daily basis. Thrown
to the wolves? Yea maybe, but it’s a lot better than sitting in an office all
day with someone constantly checking on your because that’s their job. I prefer
this than the office politics when I was in retail banking.

But about the sales ability and product knowledge, don’t get me wrong, both
those are issues that are very important for anyone selling ANYTHING but to me
that will come naturally. You will eventually learn the product you are selling
either by the training you did or over time naturally, and your ability to sell
improves as with any sales job whether you have sales goals or working as a
barista. Sales is all the same, just depends on the level of sales required.

What I am confused about is that you seem to be making MORE than enough
meetings with potentials each week and nothing to prove. It’s like you get 8-10
dates a week and no pussy, that 40 chicks a month and you didn’t even get to
touch a boob! Haha I don’t want to sound mean, instead it seems like it’s more
about your ability to sell. So back to what I was saying about the main hard
part about first year or more – sounds like you got your name out there fine
and cause people are coming in your door at LEAST 1 per day which is good. I’ve
heard the norm is 1 per week!!! Anyways..

Navet was saying, “If you believe in and like the product you're selling,
then the close is natural.” This is true man. Make the sales process normal and
less like a sales process. They tell me to get away from trying to sell
products and closer to actually helping people on an annual basis. It makes
sense cause theoretically you WILL be helping them again as the product line
consists of mostly long-term products so that you will HAVE to see them in the
future.

Did you ever go on a date with a chick and the only thing you had on your mind
was getting in her pants? Usually it doesn’t work out cause she knows, it’s
better to make conversation and spend some quality time so she likes to hang
out with you. Again, its not like you’re just trying to sell an orgasm, you are
actually trying to get to know them and find out what her dreams and goals are.
O.o

Damn, sorry for the wall of text hope it helps! :)

Jul 25, 2010 11:24 pm

sorry for the repeat, the system is going nuts

Jul 28, 2010 12:10 am

So who did u choose? WnR or pru? I work for pru, feel free to ask me what I think of it.