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Seminars for New FAs

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Aug 13, 2006 12:44 pm

For brand spanking new FAs, does it make sense to include seminars in the marketing scheme immediately, or wait for a bit, since I assume it will be harder to get people to believe you are an expert if you're in your first few months of production?

Aug 13, 2006 12:54 pm

When I started out, I was always paranoid that prospects would ask me how long I had been a financial advisor.  In all of my meetings (then and since) it's only been asked of me twice.  Granted, today I let my # of years of experience be known when making my "personal" pitch after having a decade+ of experience. Still, I think a rookie can start doing sseminars immediately, assuming they already have adequate people/presentation skills, and prospecting via the seminar path is one they want to take.

That said, the ideal environment is being able to piggyback on a office complex seminar.  The complex brings in a profeesional speaker/money mgr. and each broker is expected to bring in 5-10 prospects.  All you have to do is show up.  It still allows you to personally meet your prospects, and gets them more comfortable/familiar with both you and your firm

Aug 13, 2006 1:31 pm

That is exactly the right way to do it--and for several years I was the guy who would be there speaking.  You sit there with your pospects, when the meeting breaks up you socialize with them over coffee.

Additionally, never--AS IN NEVER--volunteer that you're new.  If somebody asks you can say something like, "I became interested in investing while in high school and have been at it ever since."

Of course if you're 23 years old that is meaningless.

Aug 13, 2006 1:52 pm

This is a little off-topic with regard to the subject, but nevertheless bears mentioning: You are selling yourself every step of the way.  From first call/meeting, subsequent calls, etc.  It generally is a process that most of us aren't even consciously aware of, yet is absolutely vital in turning prospects into clients.  When you make a solid first impression i.e. well dressed, friendly yet professional; confident not arrogant; knowledgable w/out coming across as a know-it-all; pleasantly persistant with follow up calls; etc etc

Handling the process "correctly" helps eradicate the doubt a prospect has about you, especially if they haven't been referred to you by a satisfied client.  It helps to quiet the skeptic/cynic that is natural in all people; especially intelligent people with big $$$.  Pay attention to the details.  For example, I am very aware of the voice mail messages I leave for prospects; I try to come accross as brief, direct, yet with warmth that doesn't sound manufactured. Same with emails.

One of my favorite parts about meeting with a new prospect is having them come in the office, and proceed to sit down in somewhat a guarded manner (i.e. arms crossed, sitting straight up, blank expression,etc).  Then as the meeting progresses, watching the "thawing out" process as they lean back, smile, come forward with additional information about their situation.  All this is a result of how you've come accross and the impression you've made from the start of the meeting.

Aug 13, 2006 2:34 pm

Something else.  Everybody who comes into this business has certain people in mind who they expect will become customers.

Leave them alone--repeat, LEAVE THEM ALONE--for quite a while.  They will know you're new and if you approach them right out of the blocks you're going to turn them off.

By leaving them alone I mean don't even talk to them.  The human mind is blessed---perhaps cursed---by things, and one of them is to consider time differently.  If it's been a few months since you saw somebody it can seem like years.

So, after a year or so of being in the business those "whales" you have in mind will be far less likely to think something like, "Weren't you selling cell phone a couple of weeks ago?"

It's a marathon, not a sprint, make your mistakes on strangers so that when you present yourself to those who know you already you don't come across as a the new kid that you a really are.

Aug 13, 2006 2:52 pm

I tell all rookies (who ask me) to not approach any family/friends/associates whatsoever, at least initially.  They will know what you do, and will approach you for help should they desire.  After a year or so, I think it's acceptable to mail some general research reports (nothing product specific) with a note saying something like "I thought you might find this of interest." After two-three years in the business (meaning you'll likely survive) I think it's acceptable to approach associates/former colleagues in a (very) soft-sell approach.  I still think you should never approach family/friends; they must come to you. If you're prospecting as much as you should be, you won't even need business from people you know.

Made me think of something: when I was in broker training, my firm hired a bunch of actors to come in and role play, both with us and among themselves.  They played out a number of different scenarios that a rookie would likely experience.  One actor started a skit by picking up the phone, saying that he was going to call a good friend's wealthy grandmother.  A huge cheshire grin appeared on his face, and he commented "This is sure going to be an easy sale." He went on to role play with another actor playing the wealthy grandma; she commented that she didn't know that he had just become a broker, stocks were sooo risky, does my grandson know you are calling me, etc. Of course the lesson we were to take away from it all was that people (at least initially) will still see you as what you used to be.  Find prospects with no previous affiliation.   

Aug 13, 2006 9:05 pm

NASD’s and The Judge’s comment are fine if you are simply an investment guy.   However, I think that it is a major mistake if you also handle insurance issues.   Give family and friends the chance to buy from you.  It’s ok if they don’t.   Also, if you start with family and friends and learn how to prospect, it is very possible to go through your entire career without ever having to make a cold call.  The bonus is that when these referrals (who have no clue that you are new) become clients, it becomes much easier to work with the friends and family who referred you in the first place.

Aug 13, 2006 9:36 pm

Anonymous- I somewhat agree with you in regard to approaching friends/family the insurance pitch.  Though I still think it's tacky.

On the other point you made, I think it's completely unrealistic to rely on family/friends.  With very, very few exceptions.  People always "have the chance to buy from you" yet many will hesitate until you have some experience under your belt.  And forget about them making all sorts of referrals to you.  The last thing they want is their friend to think of them as the person who introduced them to the person who lost $ for them.  Down markets/poor investment choices will do that to you.  Heck, I've had some clients for years (that have done quite well by my advice) that have flat out told me they want to refer me to others, but will only do so if thet are directly asked by a friend/colleague for help on finding someone to manage their investments.  There is no real benefit for them to make the referral, and they may have to deal with some unpleasant consequences if things don't go as planned. In addition, many people don't want their friends or "relatives" of friends to know about their financial situation.  They would likely buy car insurance from you, but turning over their financial situation to you just isn't going to happen in most cases.

Aug 14, 2006 2:11 am

 You only think that it's "tacky" to call on friends/family because you've never dealt with the consequences of not calling on them.  Have your best friend become disabled without adequate coverage and you'll be on the phone with every person whom you know the next day.

It's also much easier to get referrals on the insurance side of the business.  The insurance side is much more important.   When someone rolls over a $500,000 401(k) to you to manage, are they any better off financially?  We hope that the answer is yes, but we really don't know.  When the same person purchases a necessary insurance product, they are instantly in better financial shape.   My point is that the investment client might need to see how their investments do before they get referrals.  The insurance client knows instantly that you have been helpful, so they can give referrals.

The above paragraph is only true for someone who thinks that they have to help someone before they get a referral.  Many people are able to get referrals before the person becomes a client.  In fact, this imay be the best way for a person to succeed in this business.

When I started in this business, my family wouldn't do business with me, nor would most of my friends.  However, they were the ones who allowed me to build my practice.   When one is starting out, it is hard to get direct referrals.  What I mean by this is "Anonymous, you should call my brother.  He needs a financial advisor." 

However, you can still get tons of referrals by feeding names.  Example of getting referrals from a friend who is not yet willing to have a serious conversation with you, nor is willing to refer you to any of his friends: 

"Johnny, I can very much understand that you are not ready to discuss your finances with me, nor refer me to your buddies since I'm so new in the business.  I look forward to possibly having the opportunity to work together in the future.  I was planning on calling Jack Smith in your firm.  Do you know Jack?  Is he a good guy?  When I call him, would you object to me mentioning that you spoke highly about him?  Also, I am planning on working with many CPA's and attorneys.  Do you have a CPA or Attorney who you use?  Are any of your friends CPAs or Attornies?  Could you arrange an introduction?  We can probably do some great networking together....."

Of course, a new person can always spend their time cold calling.

Aug 14, 2006 12:10 pm

I did not read any of the posts, but on the few occasions people asked me at the beginning (i was 26) i would look at them seriously, look at my wrist, then ask them in a serious voice, what time do you have?  Or i would simply rebut, “Counting today?”

Aug 14, 2006 12:47 pm

[quote=frumhere]I did not read any of the posts, but on the few occasions people asked me at the beginning (i was 26) i would look at them seriously, look at my wrist, then ask them in a serious voice, what time do you have?  Or i would simply rebut, "Counting today?"[/quote]

The fact that you don't know that the word "I" is formed with a capital letter paints you as a fool.

Aug 17, 2006 7:39 pm

Would anybody mind sharing a script they use when they call people to

invite them to a seminar? Also, when any of you make calls re: seminars,

do you have any lists you use, do you use the phone book, or what?

As you might guess, I work for EJ (Despite what many say about the firm,

I’m happy there.) But I’m in an area where it is going to get VERY cold in a

few months, so door-knocking is going to suck. (Right now I dont mind it

at all)

Thanks ahead of time for any help.