Glenwood Springs, Colo.
“It's a cornucopia of traits that make Kim stand out—her loyalty to our team and clients, and her dedication to getting the job done. She's extremely caring, and clients love her.”
— Sumner Schachter, senior vice president, Morgan Stanley, Glenwood Springs, Colo.
“Kim is just so pleasant, so eager to help out. She's sharp, and she knows her business. When I ask a question, she'll always get an answer for me. I told Sumner, ‘You sure are lucky to have her on your staff — especially when you go on vacation.’”
— Ja Densmore, client, Carbondale, Colo.
It's not surprising that a former cheerleader would bring an abundance of enthusiasm to whatever she does — including her career. Kim Richardson, senior registered sales assistant with Morgan Stanley in Glenwood Springs, Colo., puts her heart into her work. In fact, she attributes her success to her enthusiasm for the job.
Richardson is a “people-person,” and her favorite part of the job is the daily client contact. “It's the highlight of my day,” she says.
For the past 14 years, Richardson has spent her days working with Sumner Schachter, a senior vice president and manager of the satellite branch. But their history precedes her hire date — Schachter was Richardson's seventh grade social studies teacher.
There is no such thing as a typical day, and Richardson likes the variety. “My goal each day is to reduce [the brokers'] workload and stress so they can concentrate on meeting their goals,” she says. “I would say my day is split with my time allocated to one-third sales-oriented tasks, one-third service-oriented tasks and one-third operations.”
Schachter says Richardson basically runs their team, which includes Michael McCallum, vice president; Marc Gilkerson, financial adviser; and Darcy Croissant, sales assistant.
“I was the only operations person in our office for many years, and out of necessity I had to learn how to function as the sales assistant, the wire operator, the compliance officer, the cashier, the new accounts person, etc.,” Richardson explains.
In addition, she plans birthday and holiday parties, decorates the office for Christmas and organizes retreats. “I enjoy doing things for our office ‘family,’” Richardson says.
Clients are like family, too, and Richardson is always willing to help. “I have helped clients research the blue book value on their car and negotiate with the car dealer,” she says. “I've completed financial aid forms for college bound students. I've delivered cookies and taken clients to doctor appointments.
“Most people who know me would categorize me as a perfectionist,” she adds. “I can't relax until I know my job is done and our clients have been taken care of.”
Richardson believes in taking detailed notes and automating the information. “Documentation in our business is everything,” she says. “Learning to fully utilize your software can really help your office and your team stay organized.”
As for the broker's part in improving the relationship, Richardson recommends sharing a mission statement with the team. “It instantly communicates how the FA wants to do business and what their priorities are,” she says. Also, “keep the communication channel open so an SA feels free to discuss issues and propose ideas that can help the team function more effectively.”
To keep your sales assistant happy, Richardson says, “plan ahead; try not to request proposals, files and paperwork at the last minute for a client who's walking through the door.” Brokers can also improve an assistant's productivity by communicating production goals with the team, Richardson says. “It's easier to get motivated if you all know what it is you're trying to accomplish.”
For sales assistants, Richardson says: “Above all, remember you are a part of a team. That team includes the brokers you work with, the support staff, your clients and you.”
Communication and teamwork are critical. “If any part of the team is neglected, it fails to function. Help each other out and treat everyone with respect.”