Urban Jones

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Apr 29, 2008 4:00 pm

I hope everyone is having a productive week.

I am requesting feedback from those EDJ advisors that operate in major cities. I am well aware that urban areas are a relatively recent and secondary growth area for the company. I am hoping for some insight on how this helps or hurts your business. A few questions off the top of my head are:

Does the higher concentration of the “downtown” firms and their proximity provide a steeper and unique competition than our suburban/rural brethren?

Does the population density provide a positive for door knocking and prospecting? Or maybe the opposite?

While my region has a strong suburban base, the city is almost EDJ free. Now this is partly due to hurricane displacement (guess which city I am in!!) as I know of at least two EDj FA’s that moved elsewhere yet maintain a significant client base here.

Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

May 6, 2008 10:08 pm

Just wanted to bring this back to the top to see if I could get any takers.

Oh, and go Hornets.

May 7, 2008 12:00 am

I’ll nibble on this one.

    I have 14 years experience in a large urban area, and there are a few things that are different.  First, the number of accounts you open your first couple years will be lower than a rural area, but your average account size will be much larger.  Second, competition will be MUCH stiffer.  You will have to become much more knowledgeable than your average podunk broker about product weaknesses and strengths, other broker strenths and weaknesses, and will have to work harder when starting to grow your business.  Finally, I doorknocked my first 2 1/2 years, and I think it helped me compared to coldcalling (did that also).  If you need any more advice, PM me.
May 7, 2008 11:12 am

I would agree with that.  My area is a blend of Urban/Suburban, rather low population, but there is a lot of wealth.  Every major firm is represented here, so you really need to know your stuff.  Everyone with wealth is in managed money, private equities, etc.  SO I need to have a good understanding of what is going on.  I don’t do much CD, MMKT, or bond business (except for muni’s).

  On the flip side, a friend of mine that I went through training with is out in East Podunk, Nowhere.  She is the only game in town, for about 50 miles (other than "the bank").  She said she was done prospecting after about 6 months, as people just walk in off the streets all week long.  Nobody has investments, and they all bring her CASH (checks) from maturing CD's, or just plain ol' cash from their bank accounts.  She said she can do 15-20K gross without even picking up the phone (and she was saying this after 12 months).  Most of her business is CD's, Corp Bonds, and basic mutual funds.  But most of her accounts are 10, 25, 50K.  She gets a ton of them.  I, on the other hand, open far fewer accounts, have to work MUCH harder than her, but open MUCH larger accounts for people with MUCH more money.   Just some perspective...
May 7, 2008 1:44 pm

I worked really hard at Jones. I was in large urban area with tons of competition, and I did very well and started from scratch. I will say that I do not believe that today an office can be started from scratch in my area and the FA be successful. When I started, we were at the tail end of the ability to do that as the concentration of Jones brokers was so thick-one every 1/2 mile to 1 mile, and they had pulled all the low hanging fruit. Today, the only way a person could start from scratch (my opinion) is to have had a former career that they can niche/network in to bring in clients, or another strong group association. Doorknocking does not work here now—at least not enough would be gotten from it to sustain someone. The door would be slammed, or you would be looked upon like the people who sell cleaners with a squirt bottle and a rag. The other thing I want to say is I really wish I hadn’t started at Jones. The cult mentality was not good for me. To be out was like breathing for the first time in a very long time.

May 7, 2008 2:21 pm

Thanks all for the input. This is generally what I have figured.

Donatello: As I said, while prevalent in the 'burbs, there is only a handful of Jones advisors in the actual city. Would you say that, from your experience, that this provides a greater opportunity?

May 7, 2008 2:47 pm

I disagree with donatello.  I have 9 other FAs within a one mile radius of my office.  I still doorknock sporadically and get new clients out of it all the time. 

  To say doorknocking doesn't work here now implies that everyone who is going to ever do business with Jones already is.  That nobody ever moves in or out.  That people don't ever want to switch companies.   That they don't retire, quit their jobs, inherit money.  I think that attitude is born more out of a personal dislike for doorknocking and starting from scratch, coupled with a harbored resentment of his EDJ experience, not so much on factual evidence.    The reality is in an area like he is describing wouldn't have a lot of scratch starters.  They would have a higher concentration of GKNs, Sunset plans, or open office takeovers.  That's not to say it can't be done, it just wouldn't be the norm any longer.   
May 7, 2008 8:31 pm

I’ve been told this is the kind of market in which people are more likely to switch brokers and that I am entering the business at a perfect time. Do most agree with this?

May 8, 2008 10:48 am

While it may be true that people are more sensitive about their losses over the last quarter, that doesn’t automatically mean they are going to start throwing their portfolios at you.  It’s still a process to turn prospects into a customer then into a client.