In a branch office, reps are not the only ones who depend on their sales skills to increase bonuses.
Branch managers are evaluated upon how successfully they recruit. Yet, many managers are never trained on how to be an excellent recruiter, and don't realize that recruiting is a sales process. Of course, they've been trained on how to pitch the firm, the branch office, its products, services and technology, but rarely are they taught to distinguish the subtle differences between describing the value proposition and selling it.
Every prospect needs to be wooed, made to feel highly sought after. The reality is a successful match only occurs when both sides want each other. A broker cannot know he wants a firm until he sees the full picture. If the recruit does not hear from a manager throughout the sales process, he may make the assumption that the manager is no longer interested in pursuing him. Remember: The branch manager who wins the recruit is always the one who has kept in constant contact with him.
Here is what every manager needs to know in order to increase his success at recruiting the highest quality brokers:
Always do what you have promised. If you meet with a broker and he asks you about the firm's managed-money platform, for example, get that information to him within the week. If you are unable to do so, follow up by phone and explain why it is delayed.
You must maintain continuous phone contact with your recruits. Even if you do not have any news or concrete information to report since your last call or meeting, you must find reasons to reach out to the recruit every few weeks — take them to dinner, email or send a letter.
Always close the loop. If you have met a broker and determined that he is not a fit for your office, personally let him know your decision. Not closing the loop yourself leaves a bad taste in the recruit's mouth and can generate a negative reputation for you with other more sought-after brokers in the recruit's same firm.
Never badmouth the competition. Sell your firm and your branch in the most positive light possible. Your recruit is entitled to form his or her own opinions and will respect you for allowing him to do so.
Outline the process. Managers need to make prospects understand, early on, how the interview and possible transition process works, because most brokers experience great anxiety about a possible move from one firm to another. A recruit needs details about how you will help him maintain as much of the book as possible, solve the logistics of leaving a present office, setting up telephones, email addresses, business cards and letterhead, what assistance you offer on legal issues, how the workload in the ACAT process will be handled and coaching on how to resign.
Put on your sales hat. You must learn to ask preclosing questions of your recruits throughout the process to determine what the broker is thinking. An offer should never be extended until you are certain it will be accepted. You can do this as long as you continually ask the recruit questions like:
What are your expectations?
What will it take for you to make this move?
How quickly do you want to make this move?
“So, what you are telling me is that if we offer you X, you are willing to start at our firm by Y.”
How does this opportunity compare to others you are looking at?
Building your bonus based on recruitment success requires the highest standards of follow-through and feedback, sound organizational skills and constant contact with your individual recruits. Remember, the effectiveness of your recruitment skills is the first way a broker will judge your qualifications as his future branch manager.
Writer's BIO: Mindy Diamond founded Chester, N.J.-based Diamond Consultants, which specializes in retail brokerage and banking recruiting. www.diamondrecruiter.com