Sales Assistant or Not?

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Dec 14, 2006 12:30 am

How many of you "Indy's" have a sales assistant?

Full Time?
Part Time?
None?

Indy's only please.

Trying to determine if they are worth it or not.

Dec 14, 2006 12:24 pm

Present! Part time.


Mr. A

Dec 14, 2006 2:40 pm

One...about 2/3 time...I share her with the CPAs in my office.


Worth it?  Absolutely.  I have no doubt that I'm well ahead of where I would have been without her.  She's earned me considerably more than what she costs me.

Dec 14, 2006 2:56 pm

Don't have one currently, had part-timer for a little while.  Am planning on hiring one soon.  A very worthwhile investment.

Dec 14, 2006 5:10 pm

You can run your practice on the cheap, but it WILL cost you your time,

and your lost revenue since you are the one answering the phones, licking

the stamps, doing the journals, blah, blah.



Clients have asked me on the rare situation where I've answered the

phone, where my staff was... 'Can't afford someone for your phone?',

they say....



So, there is a stigma created when you can't afford, or are too cheap, a

full-time office person.



Me, personally, I'd never hook up with an attorney, CPA, or other

professional who can't hire, or won't hire, competent staff to handle the

administrative tasks of operating a thriving business.



People should understand that yes, they are a cost to the bottom line.

However, you leverage off of the assistant's ability to save you time on the

things which matter most: Asset gathering, relationship management,

and managing the assets. Those people who have the 'I can do

everything' mentality will remain small practices and eventually fade away

as just like everyone else.



Invest in your staff. It will pay off over time.



Her pay: $60,000 + bonus, benefits, 401K match.



Worth every penny, and the clients love her.



C

Dec 14, 2006 5:44 pm

My clients are always delighted when I pick up the phone by myself (which is almost always).


They know I have a sales assistant, they like her, but they didn't call to talk to her. We have caller id an we know which broker the call is for, and that broker answers his own call.


There are too many places in this world where people can call and be put on hold, this isn't going to be one of them!


I don't do everything, but I do answer my phone!


Mr. A

Dec 14, 2006 7:06 pm

Captain and Mr. A, if you combine what both of you do, I think you have state of the art service. What do we have to offer but personal service? If someone if thinking about me, picks up the phone and dials my number, what could be more important than instantly hearing my voice?


Some of the stupidest advice I ever heard, when some mega producer branch manager was telling me how to manage my time, was, have your assistant take a message, and return all the calls between 1pm and 3pm. (Might work for him).


Without having a regular, part-time assistant, my practice struggled around the same old growth issues. Yes, pay your assistant well, and train well.


Can you believe how these two things, just these two leverage points, delegating some junk to an assistant, and having as much efficient personal contact with clients, how much this can grow your practice through referrals?


As an independent "planner", I have to hand it to the wire house advisors for having a lot of phone contact with their clients. Having mostly wrap accounts and trails, it is too easy to have less contact. Using my assistant to do model portfolio versus actual allocation, the phone, and rebalancing, I plan to double contacts per clients this years. And if you want to know the who does the very best job of number of client contacts in the industry, guess what, is is good old Edward Jones!



Dec 14, 2006 9:38 pm

Our assistant was told NEVER to ask who was on the phone....



We take all calls unless we are on the phone, or with a client. But, the

client will never be asked 'who is calling'.



We were given a great piece of advice from a client from the 'old world'

side of corporate America... He said that if anyone called his company

and asked for the president (it was a smaller company, of course) that the

assistant would put you through, no questions asked. The customer

never was to feel that the president was unreachable.



Our practice feels the same way. Our assistant doesn't ask 'who's calling',

and our clients feel that she's an integrated part of the service platform

for our practice. I agree... it's amazing how much your AUM will grow,

and your abilities to service larger clients more effectively once you add

some competent staff. Too many people look at the bottom line and say

'I can't afford it...', when you truly can't afford NOT to have a stellar

assistant.



Good discussion.



C

Dec 15, 2006 8:17 am

I have a fulltime assistant and she is great. I pay her $37,500 a year and she is worth much more. 

Dec 15, 2006 9:15 am
Captain:

Our assistant was told NEVER to ask who was on the phone....



We take all calls unless we are on the phone, or with a client. But, the

client will never be asked 'who is calling'.



We were given a great piece of advice from a client from the 'old world'

side of corporate America... He said that if anyone called his company

and asked for the president (it was a smaller company, of course) that the

assistant would put you through, no questions asked. The customer

never was to feel that the president was unreachable.



Our practice feels the same way. Our assistant doesn't ask 'who's calling',

and our clients feel that she's an integrated part of the service platform

for our practice. I agree... it's amazing how much your AUM will grow,

and your abilities to service larger clients more effectively once you add

some competent staff. Too many people look at the bottom line and say

'I can't afford it...', when you truly can't afford NOT to have a stellar

assistant.



Good discussion.



C



Captain...if you don't have your assistant ask who is calling, then I presume you don't worry about screening out calls from wholesalers or other vendor sale reps?  Reason I ask is that I currently answer my own phone but frankly I find this calls to be very distracting and irritating.

Dec 15, 2006 9:43 am

Oh no!


Those (from wholesalers and salesmen) are great calls to get. The spleen needs to be cleaned out every twice in a while, and when one of those peoples call during market hours I tell them that if they had any clue as to the nature of this business they'd call back after the market closes! Followed by a slam of the phone (well, I'm slamming an index finger on the hang-up button 'cause I use a wireless handset, so I don't think it has the aural effect that a good old rotary phone used to have when you slammed, but, we don't go to war with the army we want, we go with the army we got, as was famously said by someone subsequently infamous.) and a hearty "SALAM, Peewee!"


Mr. A


Dec 17, 2006 7:37 am

My assistant always asks who is calling.  This is not to screen calls.  I'll take a minute to talk to anybody if I'm not in a meeting. 


She asks because she is an integral part of my practice.  Most of the time, she can more quickly answer the client's question than I can.  The client usually wants a question answered rather than having any great desire to talk to me.

Dec 18, 2006 6:33 pm
anonymous:

My assistant always asks who is calling.  This is
not to screen calls.  I'll take a minute to talk to anybody if I'm
not in a meeting. 

She asks because she is an integral part of my practice.  Most
of the time, she can more quickly answer the client's question than I
can.  The client usually wants a question answered rather than
having any great desire to talk to me.


That's a very good policy, as is telling off vendors if they call during market hours.

Dec 18, 2006 7:16 pm

What is the difference if someone calls when the market is opened or closed? It does not affect my business at all. Are you still riding the pony?

Dec 18, 2006 8:30 pm

I have two...one full time (licensed), and one part time.

Dec 18, 2006 10:45 pm
bankrep1:

Are you still riding the pony?



Is that code for something nasty?