Philosophical question

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Sep 4, 2005 11:05 pm

This is a question for the veterns, or just the self aware reps. Do you
think getting a sales job, with all the frustration from it, kind of
hurts your quality of life?

The reason why I ask this is because I am a CFA candidate and am
indecisive of getting into a sales type position or an analyst
position. I believe I’m a pretty smart guy, analytically, but I’m also
a good salesman. I understand the philosophy of sales and the
importance of having good relationships with prospects and clients.

All comments welcome.

Sep 4, 2005 11:18 pm

Primo, I think that you're the only one who can answer, at least for yourself.  Are you the kind of guy that thinks about 'Plan B'?  That might mean that you're not emotionally geared for sales.  And please, I don't mean that in a negative way.  Are you the kind of person that is mission oriented?  And most importantly, do you like (and basically trust) people?  If yes, then you might well be suited for sales.  When all is said and done, if you asked most successful salespeople what they enjoyed most about their job I'd wager that money would be a distant second to the challenge of the job and the feeling of accomplishment when the job is done well.

Sorry if I'm being less than helpful, but that's the way I see it.

Just my $.02.

Sep 5, 2005 1:09 am

Thanks Starka. I’m not sure what you mean by “plan B”, though. Can you elaborate?

I think you’re right, that I’m the only one who can answer for myself.
I have just been struggling for so long with this issue, I’m just not
sure what route to go. Some people tell me that most salesmen would
never take the CFA exams, and I should use my intelligence for
analysis. Other people say that I’m a great salesman and I should
pursue that avenue.

I guess the only way is to jump in and find things out on my own. I’m only 27, so I have some time.

Sep 5, 2005 9:15 am

If you think of what we do as merely a sales job, then possibly you may not find this a fulfilling career. Sure sales is a part of it, but there is much more to being a financial adviser than "selling" a product.  You are dealing with people's lives, hopes and dreams.  I sometimes find myself in the position of counselor, friend, daughter, mother figure or just as a good sounding board. I don't consider it a sales job so much as matching the right investment product, insurance product and investment strategy to fit the goals and dreams of my clients.

Who ever told you that we icky salespeople don't take CFA, CFP etc. exams needs to have their head examined for signs of intelligence. 

Sep 5, 2005 10:53 am

Sure, Primo.

Plan "B" is thinking that follows the lines of, "Well, if this doesn't work out, I can go back to (fill in the blank)", instead of "I've made this choice, I'm committed to it, and now I'm going to make it work".

Sep 6, 2005 9:56 am

Sales is one thing.....The investment biz is another. You won't truly be able to judge whether it is for you or not, until you do it....and yes, give it everything you wan't. But there is nothing wrong in realizing a venture is not the best fit,.....and moving on.

Sep 6, 2005 11:14 am


I don't mean to be simplistic, but a true salesman wouldn't ask that question.  We tend to focus on the positive outcomes to such a degree that self-doubt rarely enters in.  Now I'm not saying that every broker doesn't go through a down time now and then, but if you are questioning the wisdom of sales as a career, in advance, then you may see lots of self-doubt in the future.

The other thing you may want to examine is your definition of a sales job.  For example, I have never picked up the phone and tried to sell a stock, bond or mutual fund.  That would depress me to no end.  I have built my business by meeting as many people as possible, networking and using other soft marketing techniques.  Although I make a living from sales, I don't even consider myself as a salesman.  I guess it all depends on what type of business you will have.

Sep 6, 2005 1:40 pm

"Although I make a living from sales, I don't even consider myself as a salesman.  I guess it all depends on what type of business you will have."

Dash, youre a salesman.. We all are.. Whether its the "hard close", the consultative approach, whatever, we all all in this business and survive by selling.. It is what it is.. How do we meet our production goals ( both set by firm and personal), how do we pay for our $3.50 /gallon gas, by SELLING our products/services/advice to the public. It doesnt matter if youre a thirty year vet or a 2 year old newbie, or whether you prefer muni bonds to variable annuities for your clients, selling is what keeps us alive in this business..

Sep 6, 2005 1:46 pm

too many guys have thought they were something other than a sales person. If you don't bring in assetts, and have a level of production....You don't have an income.

Sep 6, 2005 2:20 pm

I don’t disagree with you guys.  Actually, I think of myself as a marketer as opposed to salesman.  However, I find absolutely nothing wrong with being a salesman.  My children, with voracious spending habits and titanic tuition bills, concur.

Sep 6, 2005 2:22 pm

my .02 is pretty simple…the CFA is an ANALYST test, and is unnecessary for an advisor position.  While I’m sure there are CFA advisors out there, I can’t imagine that their clients wouldn’t be just as happy with a CFP or something similar, and unless I’ve been misinformed, the CFA is much harder.  I think a CFP is much more recognized and relevant besides being easier, if you’re looking for an advisor position.  If you decide that you want to be an analyst and/or eventual fund manager, go for the CFA.  Otherwise, you’re doing a lot of extra work for very little in my opinion.

Sep 6, 2005 2:58 pm

Heck no, there is nothing wrong with us being salesman…I am a big advocate of educating yourself, and would agree that CFP is very much in line with our profession. I would not recommend CFA, unless you were going to be an analyst.