Dreading the Jones Pitch

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Aug 9, 2008 2:05 pm

Hey everyone,

It's been awhile since I've posted since I've been busy passing my tests and dooknocking. I live in a small town and the doorknocking has been going fairly well. I'm posting because I'm worried about Eval/Grad. I feel like I have a lot of good prospects, but I want to have meetings with them, not call them from Eval/Grad and pitch a bond or equity. Isn't it weird to just pitch something without getting to know people more? I feel like it's not in their best interest to just offer them a stock out of the blue. Shouldn't we first do a risk evaluation at least? Won't they think I'm a cheesy salesperson (not a person who genuinely cares about their financial well-being)? RC
Aug 9, 2008 2:56 pm

I’m a week from KYC but already I am concerned about that, too. From what I’ve read, though, it seems like a sale at Eval/Grad is really icing on the cake - if you get one, great, but if not, oh well.

  I think they are just wanting to make sure you really can "ask for the sale", and they want to give you guidance and pointers on your presentation skills. The way Jones is structured, there really is no other place for them to be sitting there with you except in classrooms. It simply may be a "necessary evil" of the Jones training structure.
Aug 9, 2008 3:05 pm

Shouldn’t we first do a risk evaluation at least? Won’t they think I’m a cheesy salesperson (not a person who genuinely cares about their financial well-being)?

  Yes.    That's why I didn't pitch a product at my "good" prospects at eval grad and went more for the appointment.  I also gave my prospects a heads up that I would be attending a workshop in St Louis and might be contacting them from there.   I pitched products to those prospects that I figured I had zero chance of doing business with and didn't give a rip if I blew them up in the process.  There might be a few "good" prospects that you would feel comfortable on giving some product information to, but I really think going for the appointment when you return to discuss the issue is a better long term strategy.    
Aug 9, 2008 3:07 pm

Also… you can stack the deck if you have a client or prospect who is willing to buy something from you when you are at Eval Grad.  I had previous clients (was a transfer broker) and told them what the game was about.     Told them if any of the featured bonds or other products seemed to be something they would like, I would call them.

  Cheating.  But .....oh well.
Aug 9, 2008 7:33 pm

I think you can do both.  I felt exactly the same way.  I was shocked at the relatively warm reception that I got from people.  The chances are about 99.9% that they’re not going to buy whatever you’re mentioning anyway.   You use the pitch to begin a dialogue and then you go for an appointment.  There is nothing wrong with the product pitch as long as it is a QUALITY product. 

  I work for Jones and am not a kool-aid drinker but I do think the recipe works.  It didn't really work for me because I didn't buy in.  I wish I had.  Those that I know who didn't think they were smarter have done well.    Looney is right that if you want recognition and your name on the board, line up a ringer even if it is a friend or family.  I didn't worry about that since I was focused on long term success.   Don't forget that they MAY be listening to your calls.  I know a guy that felt so much the way that you do, that he was calling his voice mail and strangers to deliver the pitch.  He was sent home immediately.   Keep meeting people and don't worry.  Just do what you're told.  Good luck.
Aug 9, 2008 9:56 pm

Although not at Jones anymore (Indy and loving it), I would like to comment. My Eval/Grad was 8 years ago, and I had the same concerns.

I, like Babb Loon, didn’t use the “sales pitch” on my best prospects. To the great prospects, I simply tried to go for the appointment, and was successful. To the other prospects, I did use the “I wanted to let you know about a tax-free investment paying 5%…” approach, simply to gather information. You know they aren’t going to buy it, so you need to use it as an opportunity to learn more about the prospect (when is CD due?, what kind of things are you currently invested in?, etc).

I wouldn’t be afraid of calling to sell something, but at the same time, I would use the “get an appointment” approach for your best prospects. I know that they didn’t have a problem with that since I got several appointments.

Hope this helps…

Aug 10, 2008 11:24 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I like the “stack the deck” idea, not only with at least one sale, but perhaps also with folks who won’t mind the Eval/Grad pitch.  I tend to worry about things several steps away from where I’m at, so I’ll try to follow the recipe and be confident.

Aug 10, 2008 11:37 pm

When you call on the equity, say it may be a good fit for their particular situation. Don't go for the sale, go for the appointment. At the appointment, I would recommend taking, besides info on the equity, information on a good mutual fund that owns the equity. 

That way you can say "if you really like XXXX, we can actually own it in a mutual fund along with over 100 other quality stocks." Then go into the positives of diversification.   Even if they like the equity, try and put them in the fund. You will be better off in the long run (they probably will too).
Aug 11, 2008 7:17 pm

There are suggestions about pitching it a certain way but you may not have the option.  When I went a couple of years ago, you weren’t given a script verbatim, but it had to include certain elements such as " if you have money available I recommend you invest in this."

  I agree that you are best served not trying to think to far ahead.
Aug 12, 2008 8:14 am

When you go to Eval/Grad just pick up a local phonebook and pitch Missouri bonds. That way you won’t waste any opportunities on clumsy sales pitches. I actually had a guy in my Eval/Grad class use this method.

Aug 12, 2008 8:49 am

Reggie, That piece of advice makes no sense at all.  How do you “waste opportunities”.  After you leave that class you need to start making calls from your offices so what is the difference.  Looney is right in regards to going for the appointment.  Especially when your new in the business you need to get in front of those prospects.  This will help you to see what other investments they have and have a better opportunity to gather assets which is your number one priority.  To get a “sale” is important, but more importantly is establishing a solid relationship and gathering the rest of their assets.  I was with Jones a long time ago and I remember Fes telling me that I made the worst phone call he had ever heard.  Fifteen years later I am still in the business and eventually turned that awkward call into a client.  The point is make the calls or knock on the doors, just keep dripping on these prospects always showing them good ideas so you can get together with them one on one.

Aug 12, 2008 10:04 am

I can't tell you how many times I've had this conversation with people heading into E/G.  You have a grand total of what, 90 days, in the financial services world?  Of course you don't know them well enough to present something to them yet.  You don't even know if they like cream and sugar in their coffee, much less if they need muni bonds, corporate bonds, or stocks.  That's not the point of E/G.  The point is just to make the calls.  I promise you that the only person who doesn't think you should call your prospects and ask them to buy a stock or bond is you.  Didn't you tell your prospects that you'd be back in touch with them when you had  a good idea?  Don't you think it's important to deliver on your promises?  Chances are you won't sell a darn thing to one of your prospects.  You mom or dad or rich uncle will buy something from you just so they can say they were your first order.  Other than that, present the investment idea, get some feedback from them and then once you are back in your office, run things the way you want.  Who knows, maybe the blind hog will find an acorn and you can put some commissions on the board.

Let me also say that you're not going to be calling them on some super aggressive stock.  You'll probably be calling them on something like PEP or P&G.  Definitely something from the model portfolio.  Typically on the growth and income list.  On the bond side, it will be a good muni from your state and a good corporate bond.  The point is you could sell those investments to ANYONE and they're not going to get hurt or throw their asset allocation way out of whack.  Stop sweating it.   Just make the phone calls. 
Aug 12, 2008 10:46 am


  I was being sarcastic. Sorry if it did not come through that way. A guy in my class did actually use that technique figuring that the "locals" would be familiar with calls from Jones reps. Needless to say he did not get a sale, but it was quite funny. Also, he is out of the business now.   Use the time to call prospects and make another contact with them. It will give you an excuse to drop by again and hand deliver some information on the investment you call on (depending on how the call goes).   Reggie
Aug 12, 2008 10:58 am

It’s funny, the longer I am in this business, and the more people I see come through, the more I am convinved that you just have to follow the recipe - any receipe - not just at Jones.  One of the most successful people in my region used to be a restaurant manager.  He is the classic example of someone that was not too smart for his own good (as many of us are).  When I asked him how he did so well so fast (he’s at about $100mm AUM after 5+ years, from scratch), he basically said “I was scared to death of failing, didn’t know what I was doing, so just did exactly what they told me to do”.

  I find the people that try to get fancy or cute with their strategies, or start out gang-busters, end up failing miserably or flaming out.  But the people that just do the work, make the calls, get the appointments, day after day after day, end up being successful.
Aug 12, 2008 11:10 am

Ditto to B24’s comments. Follow the format , funny when some ( not all ) people start to play with the system ( any system ) that it when the trouble begins.  Have seen this happen over and over again and in particular with new people attempting to reinvent the system or think somehow they know better.

Aug 12, 2008 11:49 am

The only time I have seen someone step outside the box and be successful (early on in their career) is when they had some sort of previous natural market or existing network/niche area that was a slam-dunk.

Aug 12, 2008 11:55 am

B24 that is about the same observation I have made and they are the EXCEPTIONS.

Aug 12, 2008 12:55 pm

B24 and Norway, I agree with your comments on seeing so many people over think this business.  While I don’t necessarily believe in the EDJ way the trick is to follow the system that you use and do it over and over again.  The secret is getting in front of people and showing them a plan that fits their situation.  The more contacts or people you get in front of the better off you will be.  The other process I really believe in is to annuitize your business so you can continue to penetrate your current clientele once you build it up instead of constantly mining for new business or the next sale. 

  I hope you rookies are taking good notes on what some of these veterans are saying. 
Aug 12, 2008 1:36 pm


  One of the often misunderstood concepts about the Jones "method" is that you are meant to doorknock your entire career.  This is wrong.  For the most part, evterans will tell you that if you are still doorknocking after 2 or 3 years, you are not developing your referral network or other prospecting methods well enough.   The purpose of doorknocking is a way to see people and talk to people.  Jones likes you to do it in the very beginning to try it (only for newbs, not transfers), but once you get your broker number, you can do whatever the he11 you want.  Now, if you are struggling early on, they will encourage you to keep doorknocking.  But after the "newbie" phase, nobody doorknocks ("newbie" will mean different thigns to different people).  Doorknocking is no different than cold-calling, just a little more personalized.   But when I say follow the "Recipe", the recipe is pretty much the same everywhere - it's a contact sport - just make a lot of contacts day in and day out.  Your specific method is not important as long as it works.
Aug 12, 2008 1:43 pm

To expand on B24’s points. It is a NUMBERS game straight and simple. Once you have reached critical mass ( a book of business , trailers etc. and the Benefit of Referrals ) your method/s of finding new CLIENTS will in most probability change significantly. Follow the format…it’s that simple.