60-80 hours per week

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bondo's picture
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The 500 Day outline is the most accurate description of how to succeed in this business.  50 contacts and 50 calls are two dramatically different things.  I can do 50 calls in less than an hour if no one answers.  No one answering sure doesn't help me gain prospects. 
 
As much as everyone hates cold calling there is almost no other way to make it in the business unless you are brought into the right situation (relative, start the business on a team, etc). 
 
I was thinking earlier today about how many have washed out since I have been at my firm.  The most common denominator I could come up is a lack of cold-calling time.  The most recent guy to graduate in my office averaged at least 400 calls a day.  Those who have left have spent most of their time researching products, building pitch books, talking with every wholesaler, and spending time with advisors who liked to hear themselves talk.

Akkula's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-17

I plan on doing a lot of cold calling.  It can be really brutal but I guess I don't feel as shy asking for an appointment when I am talking to someone who knows I am calling for busines reasons.  I feel more awkward talking to people in a non business setting and trying to prospect them.

snaggletooth's picture
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Akkula wrote:I plan on doing a lot of cold calling.  It can be really brutal but I guess I don't feel as shy asking for an appointment when I am talking to someone who knows I am calling for busines reasons.  I feel more awkward talking to people in a non business setting and trying to prospect them.

 
Just wait until you start cold calling.  I think you will be shocked how difficult it is to get 50 decent contacts in one day by cold calling.
 
You should timeblock a variety of different activities throughout the day so you don't get burned out. 
 
Some of the activities:  cold call businesses, cold call residences, cold call centers of influence and network, go to networking meetings (CPA's, Estate Atty's, etc.), cold walk businesses, cold walk residences, host events for prospects/clients, write thank you notes, and many others I'm not currently thinking of.
 
Until you get some accounts, you should probably be doing prospecting activities 90% of your time.  If you are still in pre-production, you should be building your cold calling lists now.  You need to have enough numbers to dial away without hanging up all day, every day for a long time.
 
 

Akkula's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-17

Thanks, I have about 1500 names built up and I am working on more.  I have heard stories about people getting pretty burned out by just cold calling.  I'll probably try to hit up the chamber of commerce as well. 

snaggletooth's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-13

Akkula wrote:Thanks, I have about 1500 names built up and I am working on more.  I have heard stories about people getting pretty burned out by just cold calling.  I'll probably try to hit up the chamber of commerce as well. 
 
Be careful with Chambers.  They are a common starting place for many advisors.  Most of the people I've come across at Chamber functions were not qualified and it was more a waste of time than anything else.
 
You should be doing things that others aren't doing.  Be creative.  Use your hobbies or things you might have a passion for.  Join organizations because you believe in their purpose.  For instance, if you have a relative who has down syndrome and you believe in doing things to help an organization that deals with that, then join the national down syndrome association.  If you are a big golfer, find a way to incorporate golf into your prospecting methods.
 
If you join an association or a club, try to meet the people in charge.  Ask how you might be able to take a leadership role.  That is how people will notice you and you'll get to know people.  But you have to be there for the right reasons, otherwise you're wasting everyone's time.

bondo's picture
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Joined: 2007-04-15

I agree with Snaggle's comment about being creative.  I have a coworker who went to a small Chamber event recently and there were multiple advisors just from our firm there.  I've tried a few Chamber events and found them to be a waste.
 
Do something you have an interest in and realize you are first there to help the cause.  Your good intentions will play out in the end.  Be aware this approach is a slow one and is not what you should base your current business upon.  For now you are just a cold-calling machine.  Call businesses during the day and homes in the evening.
 
Those guys who are there from 9-3 have already arrived to their level of comfort.  They have put in the time and earned the right to call their day early.  In this business it is true that you work like no one else the first 5 years and then live the life everyone wants after that.  Do not be jealous of these guys.  Set their schedules as your target.
 
If you don't at least call that entire list of 1,500 names in a week you are not calling enough.  If you do discover you don't like cold-calling this business will be very difficult for you to succeed in then.  It is true that the people on the other end of the phone will not remember you ten minutes after the conversation.  Also, do not take your validation from those you cold called.  If you have to write yourselves notes before every call to remind yourself you are smarter than the prospects, then do it.
 
Remember, if you are not spending almost all your time once in production on prospecting you are going nowhere except out the door. 

Akkula's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-17

Thanks for the advice.
Sometimes I feel like I am in the twilight zone.  I can understand the habits of the experience, successful reps, but I a can't figure out the people who have only been with the firm for a couple of years.
It seems that there are few who are building their business on their own.  Most have hooked up with teams. 
Maybe I am wrong, but being in a team with a very experienced advisor seems to be tantamount to being that advisor's employee. 

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Being on a team can be a double edge sword. If they have a great infrastructure (i.e. seminar process, or some other way of reeling them in) and you have a deal that allows you to gain from your success its great- they are bringing added value to you and your efforts will bear fruit for both you and the team. But many teams bring in a junior and just look at that person as a cold caller - let them call their ass off, they will probably fail anyway, then I'll get whatever they bring in.
 
Bondo has given you some great advice, and so has snaggle. Take it all to heart and run with it.

stokwiz's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-04

I think you should clarify how you are cold calling. If you are trying to sell a product over the phone, that's a tough row to hoe. I've found it much easier to sell the appointment over the phone, primarily due to the fact most people won't send you a large sum to invest if they've never met you.
If you target primarily business owners, you are positioning yourself with a prospect base that has multiple needs (multiple cross selling opportunities), is used to writing large checks,  can make a decision quickly,   is usually sophisticated and doesn't need to be educated from square one, has large sums of money or is in control of said sums, and  refers often. 
 
It is also easier to just drop by that persons place of business to drop off the information so therefore it is a daytime activity. I seldom have problems with gatekeepers, maybe 1 in 20 dials. Strive to reach 20 contacts (can be accomplished early, from 9- 11:30 or so for me everyday, from 100 dials), and you should set at least 2 appointments from that activity.
 
Shooting for 10 kept appointments per week, just chatting with business owners at their office should uncover many opportunities for you to do well in this business.
 
I call with a product but frame it as a solution - pick your favorite- The reason for my call Joe is that we have an account that's paying a little over 5% tax free compared to your bank thats only paying 3-4% taxable. Can I get you some information on it? Prospect says yes- I have your address as 123 anytown street here in the hood, is that correct? By the way, if you like the idea we have an account minimum of $100,000 (or whatever), would that be available for you? Great. What I've been doing Joe is stopping by to hilight a few points and leave the information. I'll be your area tomorrow at 2:15, would that work for you? Boom, there's your appointment. 
 
Out of 20 contacts, there's your 2 appointments. Some days I'll get 6 appointments after only 7 contacts, other days I may only get 1 per 20 contacts. Last week for 75 new contacts I set 10 appointments (short week, Memorial Day). I agree the Chamber is a complete waste of time for a new adviser. Too many other brokers, in my opinion.
 
As a newbie, you should spend 15 hours a week on the phone for first calls( the more you do it the better you'll get) 10 hours for prospect callbacks, 15 hours on appointments and case prep, and 10 hours learning sales and investment strategies, so more like 40 hours of actual WORK (the 10 hours of reading and researching should be done after working hours) Too many people in the office 60+ hours a week "researching and watching the market" but only on the phone 5 hours are fooling themselves that they are actually working.
 
Stok

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

The only hours that count are productive hours.  Personally, I would define productive hours as hours spent in front of clients or fighting to get in front of clients. 

Akkula's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-17

stokwiz wrote:
As a newbie, you should spend 15 hours a week on the phone for first calls( the more you do it the better you'll get) 10 hours for prospect callbacks, 15 hours on appointments and case prep, and 10 hours learning sales and investment strategies, so more like 40 hours of actual WORK (the 10 hours of reading and researching should be done after working hours) Too many people in the office 60+ hours a week "researching and watching the market" but only on the phone 5 hours are fooling themselves that they are actually working.
 
Thanks to everyone for the great feedback.  I am sure a lot of people have benefited from your collective wisdom.  I am in pre production right now but I am trying to anticipate what may come.
 
Stockwiz, if I can have similar success to you with setting appointments (2 qualified appointments in 20 dials) I will be a happy man.  I also think your comments above about "researching and watching the market" reflect what I have seen with some of the 1-3 years of service folks I have seen in my office.  Generally I get the impression that there is a lack of prospecting.  Also, I am glad I can use the time going out for drinks and dinner with clients and wholesalers as part of my 60+ hours.  60 hours of cold calling could be a bit difficult.
 
I think I am going to use some kind of a point system to track my daily cold calling efforts.  I think if I can master this skill, I will be very successful.  Many of the newer people in my office seem to have an aversion to cold calling and they really like to only do networking with people they know.  While networking is good, I just can't seem to think how they are actually getting in touch with enough qualified prospects using only this approach.  I suppose they probably aren't getting in front of enough people.
 
Thankfully, I enjoy learning new ideas about investing and I also like doing research so I don't think it will feel like work to do these activities during non business hours.  This will allow me to concentrate on prospecting while I am at work.   
 
I also appreciate the product ideas you've presented regarding cold calling.  When you only have a few seconds to get the prospect's attention, I think you need to have a solution to quickly get them interested in talking to you.  Right now I am trying to think of some good products to lead with that fit together nicely for business owners:
 
1.  Retirement Plans (set in stone because of my extensive previous experience)
2.  Business Cash Management Services
3.  ???
 
Any ideas for other solutions most businesses will be interested in?  I am very familiar with retirement plans but the problem with them is their longer sales cycle.  I am hoping to get some other services for my marketing plan that are targeted to businesses that can help me establish relationships and generate PCs until I can get their retirement plan. 
 
Also, thanks to everyone for validating my impression that targeting business owners is the only way to go if you have high, wirehouse production goals.  I am not going to waste much time talking to residences unless I have some time to kill on nights and weekends.

deekay's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-15

Most business owners I've encountered don't want to hear about funds of the month. Most business owners reinvest back into their businesses. Therefore, I think you will have a tough hill to climb if you focus on business owners. That said, you can be a savior (and be paid well) by setting up key-person and buy-sell plans for businesses. However, if you are going to work for a wirehouse, you won't get the training needed to make this work.

The moral of this is you'll have to work with individuals in order to survive.

GT Key's picture
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Joined: 2008-01-15

Stok,
 
That is great stuff. I have been cold calling residences and getting maybe 10 conversations per 100 dials. The focus has to be getting a face to face appointment. Do you have any gatekeeper ideas?

stokwiz's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-04

My gatekeeper process is when they ask what the call is regarding I say I'm following up on tax information I sent. The prospect will think Taxes? I better get the call, then I  go into my tax free presentation when he/she  answers.
 
If I know it's a tough secretary, I'll call and just say "Please tell Joe that Stokwiz will call him at 2:15 today, thanks", then call at 2:15 because she knows he's expecting your call. Hey, it occasionally works.
 
If it's a really desirable prospect, I'll mail first so that when they say "is he expecting your call?" I can say "yes". If it's a gatekeeper who really takes pride in her work, I'll note that and call again another day with extreme urgency in my voice- "This is Stokwiz -I need to speak with Joe right away"! Of course, the gatekeepers from hell will be familiar with this strategy. Next time I'll just call early or late when the gatekeeper is not there and try to catch the prospect. If all else fails, and again it is a highly desirable prospect, I'll just stop by the business and say "I had a little time between appointments and wanted to stop in and introduce myself".
 
Most of the time though, I'll just go to the next number and call than waste time trying to get past the gatekeeper.
 
Stok

stokwiz's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-04

HFS                                                                         Points                                           Daily Summary  Date __________
                                                                                                                                               Att    Cont  AM  AS  MO  NP
                                                                               75 att. 1 pt each  75   actual __    HFS  ____   ____  ___  ___  ___ ___                            15 con. 2 pt         30   actual__                                       
                                                                                Apt. set 5 pt       10   actual___  
                                                                                Apt. met 5 pt     10   actual___
                                                                                Callbacks 2 pts                ____  New Accts ___ New Assets _______
________________________________________Total Points 125  actual_______Comm _______ __________
________________________________________________________________________________________________<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

as       am      mo    np                  ap    prosp    nw cont            as     am   mo   np 
HFS                                                                        Points                                           Daily Summary  Date __________
                                                                                                                                               Att    Cont  AM  AS  MO  NP
                                                                               75 att. 1 pt each  75   actual __    HFS  ____   ____  ___  ___  ___ ___                            15 con. 2 pt         30   actual__                                       
                                                                                Apt. set 5 pt       10   actual___  
                                                                                Apt. met 5 pt     10   actual___
                                                                                Total Points       125  actual____New Accts ___ New Assets _______
__________________________________________________________________Comm _______ __________
________________________________________________________________________________________________

as       am      mo    np                  ap    prosp    nw cont            as     am   mo   np 
HFS                                                                        Points                                           Daily Summary  Date __________
                                                                                                                                               Att    Cont  AM  AS  MO  NP
                                                                               75 att. 1 pt each  75   actual __    HFS  ____   ____  ___  ___  ___ ___                             15 con. 2 pt         30   actual__                                       
                                                                                Apt. set 5 pt       10   actual___  
                                                                                Apt. met 5 pt     10   actual___
                                                                                Total Points       125  actual____New Accts ___ New Assets _______
__________________________________________________________________Comm _______ __________
________________________________________________________________________________________________

as       am      mo    np                  ap    prosp    nw cont            as     am   mo   np 
HFS                                                                        Points                                           Daily Summary  Date __________
                                                                                                                                               Att    Cont  AM  AS  MO  NP
                                                                               75 att. 1 pt each  75   actual __    HFS  ____   ____  ___  ___  ___ ___                           15 con. 2 pt         30   actual__                                       
                                                                                Apt. set 5 pt       10   actual___  
                                                                                Apt. met 5 pt     10   actual___
                                                                                Total Points       125  actual____New Accts ___ New Assets _______
__________________________________________________________________Comm _______ __________
________________________________________________________________________________________________

as       am      mo    np                  ap    prosp    nw cont            as     am   mo   np 
HFS                                                                        Points                                           Daily Summary  Date __________
                                                                                                                                               Att    Cont  AM  AS  MO  NP
                                                                               75 att. 1 pt each  75   actual __    HFS  ____   ____  ___  ___  ___ ___                             15 con. 2 pt         30   actual__                                       
                                                                                Apt. set 5 pt       10   actual___  
                                                                                Apt. met 5 pt     10   actual___
                                                                                Total Points       125  actual____New Accts ___ New Assets _______
__________________________________________________________________Comm _______ __________
________________________________________________________________________________________________

as       am      mo    np                  ap    prosp    nw cont            as     am   mo   np 
          att        cont  am    as    mo  np                 att       cont   am    as    mo  np   Comm _______ 
HFS  ____   ____  ___  ___  ___ ___      Mort ____   ____  ___  ___  ___  ___  New Accts ___ New Assets _______                                  
 

stokwiz's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-04

Akkula ,posted above is the tracking sheet that I use.  Didn't post to the forum like it is on Word, but you get the idea. Use chicken scratches for every contact, attempt, etc. and strive each day for 125 points.
 
Stok

GT Key's picture
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Joined: 2008-01-15

Stok,

             When you cold call the businesses in your area is it beneficial to call at say 7 or 8am to avoid the gatekeeper?

stokwiz's picture
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I've tried, particularly with doctors and dentists but my contact ratio is so low I don't make a habit of it. Again, only if it's someone I know would be worth the hunt.
 
Stok

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

I have found that a lot of business owners (typically the "blue collar" business owners) prefer to get called late afternoon.  Many of them start early, but are busy giving orders, starting shifts, doing work, getting the day started, etc.  Many of them ask me to call back after 4:00 when their staffs knock off and they are done with their "work" for the day, and they are moving on to paperwork at their desks. 
 
Just a thought...

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

Stok, good stuff! Question: What product are you calling with? Could you post a sample call?
 
THX
BG

GT Key's picture
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Check his post on page 1 in this forum.

BondGuy's picture
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GT, thanks. I did read through that post. Must be my brain cloud.

BullBroker's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-26

If you stop to think about it, this industry cracks me up.  We hire guys/girls in their 20's to be the prospecting arm of our industry.  We hire the people who just graduated or are very early in their careers and tell them to bring in X amount of assets by Y amount of time.  We tell them to get on the phone and dial X amount of phone numbers to achieve Y amount of results.  We take the least knowledgeable, least experienced, least connected in the community, and least recognized faces and send them out to gather assets in the community.  I'm I the only one who sees a problem here? 

What about today's societial views, economic standing, or marketability makes a Branch Manager hire a 20 something with no contacts to cold call for $XX Million Dollars.  I will probably get completely slammed for this, but how does anyone make it in 2008 by solely cold calling?  With Caller I.D., magazine/insurance/vacuum cleaner tele-marketers on every other dial, telephone scams all over dateline I'm amazed anyone even took my calls when I tried cold calling. 
 
Maybe it stems from the fact that I work in a town with less than 1,000,000 and not a single advisor in our office has made it from cold calling since 82', but I don't see how it's possible any more.  Maybe in the really big cities where you literally have 10,000,000+ people to call on and if you were on the phone from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. you can make it, but there are better ways to make it in this business. 
 
I know this post will get slammed  because I have read many post of people on the phone cold calling all day and making it.  I am not degrading cold calling or saying it doesn't work at all, and I admire the guys like Judge and Bondguy's post about working hard and cold calling.  Here in the MidWest in cities with less than 1,000,000 people, it's much more about who you know, who they can introduce you too, and your reputation than it is about how many dials you made to Joe Stranger on Hickory Street.   
 
I do realize the Mid West is completely different from the Coasts and the way we do business here is different, and what we do that works is different than what other people do that works.  I just want the fellow rookies out there to know that there are other options that cold calling all day, and there are advisors out there who are very successful that have never made a cold call in their life. 
 
What is much more important than the method you use to contact people, is the number of people you are contacting and the quality of conversations you are having with them. 

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Bull - Cold calling works, if you do enough of it, in my area. (NY Tri State). The key is, the definition of enough of it, is different than it was 10 years ago.
But the issue of cold calling is different than the issue that your post brings to my mind.
 
Whatever the method of prospecting, you are dead on, in that the idea of hiring kids out of school, or even 2 years out of school, and expecting them to bring in lots of money within a year or two, is preposterous, and thats why there is such a high failure rate. The training programs at the wirehouses can be top notch, but you cant teach ugly Betty to be cinderella. Maybe not a great analogy, but we hire these kids, pay them 45-50k, and then wonder why they are not making it.
We should be hiring people with 10 years busienss experience, and pay them $100k-125k base for 2 years, quality people with a rolodex, who know and understand what they are getting into, and are motivated. Hire quality, hire less of them and pay them more
I had a conversation with my Regional about a year and a half ago, and expressed this opinion. I was shot down, told that he disagreed, and the answer is just throw enough SH** on the wall, and something will stick. REAL INTELLIGENT APPROACH.
 
I should have known then, that management was not the way to go. The reality is BOM''s have a number to hit each year in how many trainees they hire. If they dont hit the number they lose part of their bonus. So if they are short, they just hire almost anyone with a pulse. What a system.
Ridiculous.

Broker24's picture
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BB-

I tend to agree with you on both fronts. To a degree, Prato is right. COld calling can work. But done enough, ANYTHING can work. Where I live, there are only about 100K people in my COUNTY. So don't feel bad about only having a million in your city. But these days (and I live on the coast in a weatlhy suburb), cold calling is very, very difficult. There are a couple reasons....first, in so many households, both people work, hence, I have to dial 100 times to get about 10 people to answer. Get 10 people to answer, and you might get 1 qualified prospect. SO I need to dial 1000 times to get 10 qualified prospects. There simply aren't enough people NOT on the DNC for me to make those numbers work. Now, if you want to work every night calling at dinner when people are home, knock yourself out. You just have to dial enough times to get someone not pi$$ed off at you for calling at dinner/kids bedtime, etc. Second, with DNC, I would say that 80-85% of numbers in my area are on the list. This is factual, since you can just go to InfoUSA, run a list for a mailing, then do the same exact list, but for tele-marketing. You get about 80% fewer numbers on the tele-market list (due to DNC). I once did a search, got 10,000 names, then did the same thing scrubbed for DNC, and got only about 850 numbers. Now, I could expand my area, but my business model doesn't work well for opening and servicing clients over the phone that I have never met. People don't really want that anymore. They want relationships.

It is funny how firms hire the most inexperienced people to do these jobs. However, I guess you could look at it another way. If you consistently hired well-heeled, connected people, you would have to pay them a lot, and even then, there is no guarantee they will make it. AND, they have to work very hard for a few years to build their book. It's not like you can hire a neurosurgeon, and assume he will make it because he is smart and connected. The person still has to be a salesman. So it's probably easier to hire 10 young guys on the cheap that will work hard, and hope that 2-3 of them stick. At worst, you retain some assets of those failed brokers, and maybe they become a break-even. Think about it...7 failed brokers, 2 years, maybe 20-30mm in assets now in the system?? Not bad numbers. Probably cost the firm $500k-$1mm. Add in those 2 or 3 that make it, and you are now off to the races. It's sort of like cold calling.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

B24,
You make some good points on the cold calling. I would add that most of those NOT on the DNC LIST, are people who are not our clients anyway. However I would also add, that not only today, but 8 years ago, when I started in the biz as well, calling homes is not the ideal way to go. I've always called businesses. Yes the hit rate is pretty low during the day, after 9 and before 4-5, but the hits you do get are usually very well qualified.
 
As far as who we hire, i have to believe if we hired connected, motivated people, and paid what we had to in order to attract those people, we would have a much higher success rate. JMHO

Akkula's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-17

It seems that cold calling residences is a waste of time (hence Edward Jones' door knocking).
 
Businesses seem to be the only way to go if you are going to cold call.
 
As for who companies hire, these firms have been training people for a long time, I would hope that by now they would have figured out what type of candidate will be more profitable for them.  Furthermore, I would think that well connected old people probably are paid quite well to stay put with their current companies.  Not sure why they would want to move.  Also, not sure how you become old and well connected unless someone gives you a chance along the way.

newusfa's picture
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Joined: 2008-01-14

Having moved from a different country, I was amazed that cold calling is still used here. (It is illegal to cold call for financial service products in some parts of the world.) What has been more suprising is that when interviewing for positions here, trying to convince hiring managers that there are other methods of reaching potential clients with signifcantly higher conversion rates, I have been told that cold calling is the most effective method.
It has also been interesting that there seems to be a lack of formalized mentoring/trainee positions available. The entry level positions require you to come with a list of names or be prepared to invest in a method of client contact with a conversion rate of 1% if you are lucky.
In my last position, new advisors were given about 3 months of training before we let them anywhere near a client. Then they had to work as an assitant for about another year. During this time, they were on a salary and had no production requirements. By the end of the year, they had a good technical knowledge base and were comfortable dealing with clients in person and on the phone. They had also spent about a year observing good producers at work. After about 4 years about 90% were still in the industry.
 
Considering the situation here,  how can you expect anything other than a high failure rate for new advisors.

carrollnd's picture
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Joined: 2008-05-27

Stok,
Are there any particular business types you target?  Where do you get the numbers from primarily?
 
Thanks,

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

newusfa wrote:
Having moved from a different country, I was amazed that cold calling is still used here. (It is illegal to cold call for financial service products in some parts of the world.) What has been more suprising is that when interviewing for positions here, trying to convince hiring managers that there are other methods of reaching potential clients with signifcantly higher conversion rates, I have been told that cold calling is the most effective method.
It has also been interesting that there seems to be a lack of formalized mentoring/trainee positions available. The entry level positions require you to come with a list of names or be prepared to invest in a method of client contact with a conversion rate of 1% if you are lucky.
 
New, you have our attention. Tell us what other methods we should be using and give us a ball park number on the expected conversion rate.

newusfa's picture
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Joined: 2008-01-14

Reading some of the posts on this board, it is obvious that many here are already very sucessful. So Im not arrogant enough to say what "other methods" people should use. So please dont take this as me telling you what to do,  I just know what worked for me and a few of my peers.
I started with no assets, never approached family or friends for business and never used my "natural market" I built a good sized book of business with a strong revenue stream in about 3 years. Book size was about $80mil.
 
I had all clients refered to me by attorneys and accountants. From the clients sent to my by attorneys or accountants I converted 75% tobecome my clients. About 15% I turned away because I didnt feel I could put them in a better position. The other 10% didnt like me (I guess)
 
The trick is to get other professionals to refer to you.
 
I took a very specific area  that I was passionate about and new would add real value to clients.  (it was highly technical retirement planning strategy that saved clients signifcant amounts of tax) I put a presentation together for CPAs and had it approved for CPE points for the CPAs and presented it at a conference. From that I managed to win the professional respect of the accountants and they were happy to refer me business when the opportunity came up. Having said that there was nothing about this strategy I didnt know. I knew the legislation backwards and how to apply.  Then when the clients came in, I would look at everything they had, and would pick up other assets they had elsewhere and re-write insurance where appropriate.  I made sure I always kept the accountant in the loop. I also made it clear that I was happy to act as a technical resource for the firm. 
 
I have seen other advisors use the same strategy to build referal sources with insurance or estate planning strategies. I think the key was, we were selling a strategy not a product, which is easier for accountants and attorneys to stomach. If it is a product push some accountants treat you like a used car salesman. When its about a technical strategy where you can quantify and promise the benefit. ie a 50% reduction in tax rather than a potential 10% yield with stock of the week,  it buys you some credibility.
 
I dont think it is rocket science, but it worked for me, and I am sure I did better than if I was cold calling.
 
 

saul4paul's picture
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Joined: 2008-05-27

Because of my beliefs, I only work Tuesday -Thursday. Works out great for me. I just have plumbers and vaccume salesmen send me clients. Some times I get good clients from Max, the door greeter down at Wal-Mart.
I give out business cards to the car hops at Sonic before I ride off on my moped.
This works great for me.

Akkula's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-17

newusfa wrote:
I took a very specific area  that I was passionate about and new would add real value to clients.  (it was highly technical retirement planning strategy that saved clients signifcant amounts of tax)
 
Did you discuss with them cross tested plans, NQDC plans, 412i plans, defined beneift plans, cash balance plans?  Any more clues you can give?  I was actually planning on talking to some CPAs about tax strategies for these plans.

newusfa's picture
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Joined: 2008-01-14

The reason I wasnt specific  was that I have only recently moved to the US, and I did this in a different country. The retirement plans here are totally different.  But I would assume you could use a similar approach to what I did to get the CPAs on side.
If you can develop an educational seminar and have the seminar approved for CPE points you might find CPAs will be more inclined to give you the time to listen. What you should always remeber with a CPA is that all they can sell is there time. If you are going to use some of it, and not be paying for it, you should try to give them a benefit other than the pleasure of your company. Another option may be to write an article for the CPA journal. It isnt as good as getting in front of them and discussing it, but will help to establish you as an "expert" in the field.
Hope this helps.

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

New, good stuff! networking CPAs or other professionals is always a good way to build biz. Unfortunately for most, easier said than done.
 
Keep us informed. Let us know how your business template works in this country.
 
Good Luck and welcome to the U.S.A.!

Hollywood's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

How long do you let the phone ring when you call?

- For businesses/business direct dials?

- For residential?

I have been letting it ring for 30-40 seconds, but I am thinking that is toooo long... Thanks!

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

Hollywood wrote:How long do you let the phone ring when you call? - For businesses/business direct dials? - For residential? I have been letting it ring for 30-40 seconds, but I am thinking that is toooo long... Thanks!
 
Businesses should pick up their phone within one or two rings. More than that spells one man shop.
 
Homes - four rings. This is my rule. More than four rings and I'm interupting something and that's a bad way to start a conversation.

deekay's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-15

iceco1d wrote:What's wrong with a one man shop?  Looking for info/perspective, not being a $mart A$$.
 
Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I have several very profitable sole-props as clients, all of which have been very profitable for me.  Most reps don't call 'em because, well, most reps are snobs.  Granted, you have to have a strong insurance background because most are investing in their own businesses.  Benefits that employees take for granted (life, DI, health, etc.) all have to be purchased on their own.  Get a rep who knows insurance, split the case, and prospect away!

Hollywood's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-23

Thanks for the tip BondGuy.  Much appreciated!

Borker Boy's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-09

deekay wrote:Most business owners I've encountered don't want to hear about funds of the month. Most business owners reinvest back into their businesses. Therefore, I think you will have a tough hill to climb if you focus on business owners. That said, you can be a savior (and be paid well) by setting up key-person and buy-sell plans for businesses. However, if you are going to work for a wirehouse, you won't get the training needed to make this work. The moral of this is you'll have to work with individuals in order to survive.
 
What do you guys know about buy-sell agreements? This seems like an area where value could really be added to business owners.
 
Is it best to contact an insurance wholesaler for training? Do you establish a relationship with a CPA and attorney before approaching businesses?

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Borkerboy, they are very simple to do.   Let me clarify.  We don't do buy-sell agreements.  We fund buy-sell agreement.
 
For example, a buy-sell agreement for death is nothing more than a legal agreement that states that if Joe and Sam are business partners and Joe dies, Sam will buy Joe's share of the business from Joe's wife and Joe's wife will agree to sell it to him for a predetermined price.
 
Why is a buy-sell needed?  Without one, the business usually can't survive a death of an owner.  Ex. Joe dies.  There is no buy-sell in place.  Sam is now partners with Joe's wife.  Joe's wife has no ability or desire to help run the business.  Sam doesn't want to be a partner with Joe's wife.  Sam now has to do all of the work and still only gets half of the profit.
 
Why are we needed for the buy-sell agreement?  Let's assume that a buy-sell agreement is in force.  The buy-sell says that Sam must buy out Joe's wife for $1,000,000.  Sam doesn't have $1,000,000, nor does he have access to this money.  The buy-sell is worthless.
 
Life insurance is used to fund the buy-sell agreement.  Joe dies.  Sam collects $1,000,000.  He uses this $1,000,000 to pay Joe's wife.  Sam is happy.  He has 100% of the business.  Joe's wife is happy.  She has $1,000,000.  Joe is happy (and dead).  His business can survive.  His partner can continue to support his family.  His wife benefited from the fruits of his labor.
 
So many firms that need buy-sells don't have buy-sells in place.   Many have them in place, but they are unfunded which is useless.  Those that have them funded, usually just have them funded for death.  They need to be funded for disability also.
 
Life insurance for buy-sells is no different than any other life insurance.  The difference is simply the ownership and beneficiary designations.  DI for buy-sells is different than individual DI.

Borker Boy's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-09

I agree, great stuff, anon.
 
What steps should a person take to get involved in funding buy-sells? Is this more appropriate for the indy channel than captive folks?

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

No, I have done buy/sells.  It's really very easy.  It's just a life insurance ticket.  However, you do need to direct them to the appropriate attorney to get the buy/sell agreement drawn up (referral!).  You do this, you then have made all parties whole upon death, you wrote a life ticket, you now have an "in" with the personal money of the partners & families, and have provided a referral to an attorney.  Win/Win/Win/Win.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Thanks for the kind words. 
Borker, it's appropriate for anybody who doesn't have to put insurance through a grid.
I don't think any special steps are needed to get involved.    I'm a fact finder kind of guy.  "Hey Mr. Prospect, what are your financial goals?"  An hour later, I'll know his goals and objectives and what he is currently doing.  If he owns a business, a buy-sell will probably help him achieve his financial goals.  If it does, we'll talk about it.  If not, I won't bring up the subject.
I'm not so sure that you want to get the attorney involved before getting the life insurance in force if there is not already a buy-sell agreement.   Why bring someone in who can muddy the waters unless you have control over the attorney?  Also, until someone applies and gets approved for coverage, there is no way to know if insurance is a viable solution. 
With disability buy-out, the agreement must be immediately put in force.
The bottom line is don't look for buy-sell agreements.  Look to help business owners accomplish their financial goals.  Do we really care if this means that they buy personal life insurance or business disability buy-out or start a 401(k) or rollover their wife's IRA?  Let's make our money by helping others achieve their financial goals!

dbsdesk's picture
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Joined: 2008-09-21

You're spot on BullBroker but too many are of the mentality of 'spaghetti tricks' ie: splat it against the wall to see what 'sticks.' As for cold calling, for anyone with the budget to do so, there are lead services available, here's one that I just pulled up through online search http://www.dailytriggerleads.com/ to give readers here an idea of what quality you can get to refine your efforts. If you request filtering for specific types of clients ie: FICO above 700, loan amounts above $500K you can more effectively target specific socio-economic groups within your desired geographic area.
 
Marketing is about targeting, contacts=contracts and $ in the bank...
 
BullBroker wrote:
If you stop to think about it, this industry cracks me up.  We hire guys/girls in their 20's to be the prospecting arm of our industry.  We hire the people who just graduated or are very early in their careers and tell them to bring in X amount of assets by Y amount of time.  We tell them to get on the phone and dial X amount of phone numbers to achieve Y amount of results.  We take the least knowledgeable, least experienced, least connected in the community, and least recognized faces and send them out to gather assets in the community.  I'm I the only one who sees a problem here? 

What about today's societial views, economic standing, or marketability makes a Branch Manager hire a 20 something with no contacts to cold call for $XX Million Dollars.  I will probably get completely slammed for this, but how does anyone make it in 2008 by solely cold calling?  With Caller I.D., magazine/insurance/vacuum cleaner tele-marketers on every other dial, telephone scams all over dateline I'm amazed anyone even took my calls when I tried cold calling. 
 
Maybe it stems from the fact that I work in a town with less than 1,000,000 and not a single advisor in our office has made it from cold calling since 82', but I don't see how it's possible any more.  Maybe in the really big cities where you literally have 10,000,000+ people to call on and if you were on the phone from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. you can make it, but there are better ways to make it in this business. 
 
I know this post will get slammed  because I have read many post of people on the phone cold calling all day and making it.  I am not degrading cold calling or saying it doesn't work at all, and I admire the guys like Judge and Bondguy's post about working hard and cold calling.  Here in the MidWest in cities with less than 1,000,000 people, it's much more about who you know, who they can introduce you too, and your reputation than it is about how many dials you made to Joe Stranger on Hickory Street.   
 
I do realize the Mid West is completely different from the Coasts and the way we do business here is different, and what we do that works is different than what other people do that works.  I just want the fellow rookies out there to know that there are other options that cold calling all day, and there are advisors out there who are very successful that have never made a cold call in their life. 
 
What is much more important than the method you use to contact people, is the number of people you are contacting and the quality of conversations you are having with them. 

MinimumVariance's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-20

I've found that attending funerals for people you don't know works wonders. Make sure you go to the after buriel 'party'. You can tell the family you knew the dear departed from some association / club / school they attended. Plus you get afree lunch.

Morphius's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-21

Even with a winking smiley that's sick.

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