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Prospects From HELL

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Sep 21, 2007 2:22 pm

Please take this opportunity to vent/share your strange/etreme/unique experiences with a prospect from hell. Any lessons learned? Details please…

Jan 6, 2008 2:54 pm

So many… Where do I start? I prefer those prospects that are just straight up honest with you and tell you they are not interested. Rather than those IDIOTS who jerk your chain and want free lunch and discuss the markets, only to turn around and use your ideas to rebalance their portfolios.

Jan 6, 2008 3:14 pm

You need Sandler Selling.

Jan 7, 2008 2:26 pm

[quote=Robinhood]So many… Where do I start? I prefer those prospects that are just straight up honest with you and tell you they are not interested. Rather than those IDIOTS who jerk your chain and want free lunch and discuss the markets, only to turn around and use your ideas to rebalance their portfolios.[/quote]

You give away your ideas to prospects for free?  If a prospect can take enough from a conversation with you to feel comfortable rebalancing his portfolio, I’d blame yourself, not him.  Sure, he’s a jerk, but you’re the one who enabled him. 

Sell yourself and your process up front, but don’t give anything away for free, or that’s what it will be worth … to you anyways.

Jan 8, 2008 3:04 am

Well put Morphius.

  I've found establishing a minimum account size and charging hourly for clients below that size has helped me deal with that issue.  Just some food for thought.
Jan 10, 2008 12:11 am

In order to determine if the prospect is seriously considering you as their FA, present the prospect with some hurdles they must overcome before you give them the good stuff. For example, skip lunch and make the appointment in your office. Ask the prospect to have current account statements and their tax returns provided to you prior to the appointment, so you can study them. If the prospect is seriously considering you, overcoming some minor hurdles won't be a problem.

Jan 10, 2008 11:07 am

Good input from all of you! Yes, a part of it is my fault! I guess good number of these prospects go the length… where they bring in all their statements. I even get commitments from them that if I put forth ideas that address their issues, then they would bring over assets.

  Most think this is fair. Good amount of prospects go through with it. But there are few that play that game and go through the process, only for them to back out at the last possible moment. Then they goto discount brokerage firms, where they think they can do it themselves.   But I see what goes on in our current market with so much fluctuation... and just laugh  That's my payback!
Jan 10, 2008 4:34 pm

I really don’t understand the problem here.  Yeah, I agree with hurdles, but make them real.  I give no SPECIFIC recommendations until accounts are open, assets ACAT’ed in, and conceptual agreement on the process/strategy.  Asset allocation numbers are there, but nothing specific to implement from.  Obviously they could still back out and go elsewhere even at that point, but it’s never happened to me yet.  Ever.

Sell the process and yourself - not specific ideas or recommendations.

You gotta sell them and close them sometime - why not BEFORE you give them what they think they want?

Jan 10, 2008 6:08 pm

I tell them that if they are thinking about taking my advice and trying to replicate it at Fidelity or Vanguard it won’t work.  There will be a big piece missing.  Me.  Markets and life change.  If you don’t know how to handle your portfolio with either one, this plan I put together for you will fail.  You need me to manage it. 

Jan 29, 2008 3:57 pm

I had to learn this lesson the hard way. A prospect was referred to me and had 4MM sitting in fixed income at another firm. He asked me about the muni market right now and if I could put a ladder together for him. Sure enough I had my bond desk people put something together and showed it to him, never heard from him since. I explained my services etc, but should have had the assets here beforehand.

Feb 14, 2008 7:37 am

Hard to say that though ana when someone says they have that and get you interested…Its like SURE I will put something together!

  You win some you lose some.  However, you better be winning the majority!
Mar 5, 2008 4:31 am

I would enjoy firing this stupid prick…good riddance…  
Mar 6, 2008 1:20 am

[quote=Indyone]I would enjoy firing this stupid prick…good riddance…  [/quote]   Yeah, but only after selling him a high commissioned EIA with a 10 year lock-up!
Mar 6, 2008 8:48 pm

I met a prospect I cold called at his house.  He kept a pistol at the other end of the table.  He did business with me and I almost needed new pants.

May 15, 2008 11:59 pm

The most ridiculous thing that ever happened to me was my first few months at EDJ knocking on doors.  I always left something behind, flyer, card, anything so the ones who would not open the door could at least know who I was and not call the cops.  Yes, several EDJ get the cops called on them.  So, I get about 2 houses down the street when a guy comes out of the house I knocked on 5 minutes prior, has my flyer in hand, screaming at me that he is going to sue me for littering on his property.  Nearly throws blows at me and I nearly fell apart laughing at the guy.  It was so pathetic I did not know what to do, I turned (some fear he was going to throw something at me) and walked away.  Oh why on earth did I ever do that EDJ door knocking thing?  Gotta learn somewhere, right?

Jun 3, 2008 2:06 pm

If it weren’t for the prospects this business would be perfect! 

They’re all looking for free advice and string you along.  They want free ideas that they can watch and try out themselves.  I don’t know what they’re thinking or if they are thinking. 

All I know is that they will kill you.  They will suck the life from you and your practice will suffer because of it.  Never ever give specific recommendations.  There are plenty of cliche’d responses that actually work when a prospect gets too close to asking for specifics.  An analogy to their own profession is best.  “What would you say to me, Mr. Plumber, if I asked you to fix my stopped up toilet for free and then we’d talk about putting in tankless hot water heaters on each of the three floors of my house.” 

Our colleagues are right.  Sell yourself.  Sell your process.  We’ve all been suckered into giving it away so there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

If the prospect takes too long to move forward, just ask flat out:  “Ms. Prospect, we’ve been talking a long time, and not to put too fine a point on it, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out if we should be doing business together.  Can you envision us ever doing business together?  If so, what is standing between us?  If not, I don’t want to waste any more of your time.”  Something like that. 

Sandler is great.  Definitely worth the money.  My local Sandler rep is formerly a wirehouse broker (from a decade ago) so he understands our business.

Sep 2, 2008 6:04 pm

We are all ‘allegedly’ good at what we do. I know that we add value for our clients. But, let’s be honest here… aside from a few exceptional proprietary offerings, someone with reasonable intelligence,  a good platform and time to keep up with the markets can manage their own assets - successfully. It isn’t unlike our ability to rebuild a chevy 350 engine. We could all learn to do it… and we could successfully get the car up and running. However, we don’t have the time, tools and often inclination to do it. So, we hire a mechanic. This ain’t brain-surgery.

Sep 2, 2008 8:26 pm

Ferris  , I will agree with you on the DIY types or as I prefer to call them … " The Experts ". You can spot them everytime. Dropping termanology that the average person would not use in a conversation and always the latest in vogue investment/s.

In my humble opinion the gambler that goes to Las Vegas ....have you ever noticed these types ALWAYS - WIN OR BREAK EVEN.
Aug 13, 2012 10:14 am

We could all learn to do it… and we could successfully get the car up and running. However, we don’t have the time, tools and often inclination to do it. So, we hire a mechanic.-Theodore Stroukoff

Sep 12, 2012 4:56 pm

Prospects are easy. Don’t take them on.

Its the clients from Hell that are harder but you can still dump them.