Young, Dumb, (and Ugly?)

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May 13, 2008 9:37 am

Good morning!



As I round the bend and take the 66, I'm chomping more and more at the bit to get started on the "meat" of why I chose this career. I consider myself generally educated a specifically knowledgeable of finance. I am a confident person and naturally at ease when talking to people of every walk of life. I can adequately say I have a handle on most of the variables that are essential to this line of work.



My guess would be that my biggest issue is the fact that I am 26. Granted, for my age I have an unusually extensive work experience through both meaningfully working through school and time spent as an officer in the National Guard.



Any suggestions on how to discount my age if it is raised as an issue?



One response I have come up with is: "Yes I understand that I am younger than most in this industry. But how confident are you that your current broker will not retire before you?"





May 13, 2008 10:54 am

i agree with ice's statement.

 
I heard this line in a past career and while I am not that young people do raise questions about my age, I have not used it yet but I am waiting for the right time.
 
 
"Mr/Mrs client....the greatest, most experienced and most educated ship builders built the titanic while an interested, caring party with no experience in the field built an ark.
 
A little trite but I still like it.
May 13, 2008 11:26 am

Do yourself a favor - and I see this all the time with younger newbies - don't try to dress too "trendy".  With the fancy "shoe of the year" or the 5 button suit or strange "hip" colored shirt.  And go easy on the hairdo.  Not too much gel and spiking and all that stuff that impresses the 26 year old girls.  Trust me, traditional and well tailored is always in style.  You cannot go wrong with shined wing-tips, black socks, a nice, well-tailored two button suit (grey, charcoal, black, blue, etc.), white shirt and nice tie.  If you are out at clients homes a lot, a nice leather brief bag is good as well (not the laptop bag!).  I have both a simple black leather Coach bag, and a heavy, rawhide flap-cover.  Make sure the quality is good - none of that "pleather" stuff.

 
For some reason, the guys at Lord Abbet always impress me this way.  Most of their wholesalers are under 35, but they are always the sharpest dressed guys.  They look like Brooks Brothers models.  They are confident, they know their stuff, and I quickly ignore their perceived age. 
 
Always maintain your composure, don't be over-eager, and try to put yourself in the shoes of a 60 year old when you are sitting with clients.
 
Sorry, I digressed a bit.  But one last thing - I started my career (a previous career) in a position of authority at a very young age (early 20's) - I just got lucky.  And I looked even younger (I am also short).  I found that it took longer for people to take me seriously, but once they got to know me, they realized how much I knew, and that they could trust me.  If you let age be a factor, it will eat you alive.  You just have to get past your fears - and that's what it is - fear - and show confidence.
May 13, 2008 11:49 am
cppr33:

i agree with ice's statement.

 
I heard this line in a past career and while I am not that young people do raise questions about my age, I have not used it yet but I am waiting for the right time.
 
 
"Mr/Mrs client....the greatest, most experienced and most educated ship builders built the titanic while an interested, caring party with no experience in the field built an ark.
 
A little trite but I still like it.
 
My emphasis - that is very very good.  I agree with the previous posters - if you present yourself well, dress conservatively, and get rid of 20-something colloquialisms, it should not be a problem.  That said, there's always someone who just has to argue for the sake of it.  This line should shut them the hell up.
May 13, 2008 1:04 pm

I once had someone tell me that they were nervous that I had not been an advisor during the market crash in 2000-02, and that I don't know what it was like, and therefore how could I know how to navigate through it (I don't remember their exact words).  I said to them (on the fly!) "that's like telling your doctor that he has never had cancer, so how could he possibly know how to treat cancer". 

May 13, 2008 3:02 pm

Broker24...how short is short...

May 13, 2008 4:01 pm

4' 2"

 
You might have seen a special about me and my family on the Discovery Channel.
 
May 14, 2008 1:20 pm

Don't say "Yo Dude" to any of your prospects over the age of 35.

 
Don't bring up your age.
 
Don't put down the experience or wisdom of those who have lived and have seen.
 
The experience question is legitimate. In 1989 a United Airline DC-10 crash landed at Sioux City Iowa after a complete loss of hydrallics. 110  people died, however 175 survived. The plane was flying at 37,000 feet when an engine fan broke loose and severed all three hydrallic lines. Something the NTSB called a billion to one probability. This jammed the controls. Not a good thing at 37,000 feet. The pilots being able to maintain control was deemed so improbable and the situation so complex that the NTSB said it was impossible to program the exact scenerio into flight simulators so that pilots could train to contain future events. In other words the hydrallic failure was an unsurvivable event. The reason 175 people survived was the experience of the pilots, two of which were near retirement age.
 
Pilots train for emergencies all the time. Yet, no one knows how they'll do until their butt is on the line. No offense meant to the 20 somethings, but if i'm ever on a plane with a serious problem, the guy I want at the controls is someone with experience not someone who's read about it in a book.
 
When it comes to investment consulting the same holds true. While reading about how to act or react to poor market conditions is a valuble tool, nothing trumps experience. On that note let your prospects know that you are not a one man show. That you have the resources of a company with a long track record to help you guide your clients through the tough times.
 
 
May 16, 2008 12:40 pm

Thank you all for the responses!



I dress very conservatively (two buttons are my mantra) and present and carry myself well above my age and feel confident that these aspects will more than adequately downplay my age.



Now as far as experience...

May 21, 2008 11:08 pm

How about...


"Mr. Client, I build my business on the moral constitution of providing a COMPLETE financial plan; that means when you pass away, I will be there for YOUR wife, YOUR children and YOUR grandchildren. Can a 50 year old financial advisor promise you the same thing?"
May 21, 2008 11:10 pm

I had a prospect tell me once that I reminded her of her grandson.  I asked if she liked her grandson.  Been a client ever since.

May 21, 2008 11:14 pm
NOLA_Advisor:

Thank you all for the responses!

I dress very conservatively (two buttons are my mantra) and present and carry myself well above my age and feel confident that these aspects will more than adequately downplay my age.

Now as far as experience...

 
If you learn something and explain what you know to your client with some conviction, you will not need to worry about your age or experience.  People believe knowledgeable people who come off as caring.
 
Take note, it will not happen immediately.  It takes time to talk with the confidence and knowledge needed.
May 23, 2008 10:25 pm
Primo:

I had a prospect tell me once that I reminded her of her grandson.  I asked if she liked her grandson.  Been a client ever since.

 
Yep, a lot of people do tell me that for early/mid 20's advisors, you have two niches; people around your age and seniors. Everyone else in between do not want to talk to you because they don't want to feel any less intelligent than a young "know it all"