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Feb 11, 2010 4:40 pm

This is some advice that I would give to someone starting out for their first 500 days as a producing advisor.  A new broker with no substantial contacts/connections; someone who is willing to put in the sweat equity to survive and eventual prosper.  After all, survival is the key as any successful veteran broker will tell you.  Some of these may appear somewhat controversal; it is simply my experience/view and what I would do.  In no particular order:

- Speak to 25,000 people via telephone; business owners and corporate directories only.  It will amount to 2500 leads and 250 new accounts (households). Average account should be 100k; that's 25 million @ 1% paying you 250k gross on an annual basis.

- Make an effort to open all accounts over the phone; discourage appointments (we'll revisit this theory later on) unless it is high 6 figures or a million dollar prospect.  Takes too much time.  With the travel, meeting time, etc; we are solely focusing on the numbers here. Eventually you'll meet with them AFTER they become clients.

- Purchase a laptop for your contact management; have this in front of you at all times and place the firm workstation BEHIND you.  Too distracting and you will rarely need it anyway in the first two years.

- Have all of the compliance approved marketing material as well as new account/ACAT documents available via email to send to prospects.  Make every effort to utilize this at all times to speed up the process.

- On a monthly basis, send a blast email as well as a paper-based copy of some idea/market related info to all of your prospects.  This is to be done on Saturday unless you can afford to hire someone to do it for you.

- If there is no "sale" on the first follow up call, make every effort to (politely) try and disqualify them.  This is done to prevent clogging up the pipeline with nice people who are (in reality) not interest or not qualified.  Or both. 

- Don't consider spending any of your time on seminars, networking, wholesalers.  Too much time/effort with unpredictable results.  These activities can be initiated after you've survived and have built a base to build on.

- Make 3 cold calls for every follow up call during the day.  It insures you are always talking to new people and not getting comfortable/lazy speaking only with existing prospects who will likely treat you in a kinder manner.

- Don't solicit or accept friend or family accounts. In addition, politely let them know that you are not to be called at work before 6 pm unless there is an emergency.  No time for idle chit/chat and friendly calls often turn into long conversations.  Keep up contact evenings/weekends.

- Plan the next day (in particular you call list) before you leave.  30 minutes after arriving to work you should be on the phone.

- Do not take active traders for clients, especially fee-based traders.  Takes too much time and interferes with prospecting.

- Ask every prospect if it would be ok to call them on Saturdays; great day to call/reach people in a relaxed state; this is the only time I would call home #'s and only after they've given you permission.

- Use regular mail and email to keep your name in front of prospects on a regular basis.  However, ALL outgoing phone calls should be dedicated to asking for orders.

- During the week, gather all research/articles/etc and put it in a pile; this is to be read on Sunday when you have time, and not interfering with prospecting efforts.

- Keep diligent notes on conversations with prospects; quickly peruse them before following up and mention previous things they've said.  Sets you apart and will impress any prospect.

- Promote referrals immediately after the first sale is made.  Something along the lines of sending them an additional brochure for someone they may know.  Do not ask for specific names, simply let them know you would appreciate any introductions.

- Be the first to arrive and generally the last to leave.  Do not socialize with fellow brokers as they want you to fail.  Bust your tail and impress them via your work ethic and results.  You are the only one who decides your paycheck.

- Find a city that you would like to visit often, preferably on the opposite coast (different time zone).  Spend 1-2 hours calling this area every day.  If you are on the East Coast and calling SF, this can be done in the evening (your time) while it's still afternoon out there.  Conversely, West Coast people can be calling east at 6 am. 

- Keep a daily scorecard and be diligent tracking activity/results.  Set ambitious (yet reasonable) goals and exceed them.  Time management is crucial; waste one hour a day and you have just wasted 25 working days a year. Yeah, it's that much.

- Assume everyone has caller ID and always leave messages for existing prospects; no messages on cold calls. Leave one message a week for a prospect.  And when you get a new prospect, ask them what time and what # they prefer to be contacted.

- Work for today but keep tomorrow in mind.  Try and build a business that is primarily fee-based/recurring revenue.  It's a great feeling to come into year 3 with 250k already "done" and to see dividends for years to come as a result of the 500 day war.

So there's a start and I'll try and add more as I think of them.  In addition, I'll post some ideas on what a broker in their 3rd year should start considering doing to grow the business.

Feb 11, 2010 6:05 pm

Thanks for your posting.  As someone considering a career in FA this is an interesting read. 

Feb 11, 2010 6:20 pm

Not mine… THE JUDGE posted this a while back… But it is refreshing to read once in awhile…

Feb 11, 2010 6:50 pm

I’m glad you reposted this, because I remember reading it but couldn’t think of a proper search term to find it. Sounds like excellent advice.

Feb 11, 2010 8:01 pm

too much crap on the goes on for 7 pages..

Feb 11, 2010 10:09 pm

I am beginning to believe the Judge on the call/mail/call. to ask people for appointments takes a chunk out of their day.

I will put it a different way. How many people at your offices say you have to make appointments by the end of each first call?