Causes of Failure

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mooose's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-03

Hello everyone, seems like a lot of veterans here like to illustrate how hard it is to succeed in this business.  From your experiences what are some specifice reasons for failure and success in this industry.  Anything more than the obvious "hard work."
mooose

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Wasting time on message boards that ought to have been spent tending to your business! (Cause of failure.)

studio's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-09

I think its the same in this field (if your at a wirehouse) as in real estate.
Avoid the office (as long as your still working!)
I would see a lot of people in real estate come into the office ALL day and then go home. You dont get prospects siting at a desk.

awesome's picture
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Joined: 2007-01-04

Let's just give the man his answer. We all know it only takes a few minutes to peruse this thing daily and get the information you're looking for, so if a few minutes is going to "break" this guys practice, then I think he'd been doomed regardless of visiting this message board. That being said, he's come here to glean advice and ask for help. Consequently, although I'm not a veteran, my research says that you've got to push every method of prospecting first, then stand back and see what works. By stand back I mean, keep working until you're about to pass out and while you're working that hard, keep watch at what prospecting methods are working.
 
If you notice Seminars are best, then do more seminars. IF you notice cold-calling (warm leads) work best, then start pushing the numbers on the dial pad more. Etc...
 
My research says that those who fail don't put in the hours (12 - 15 per day) and don't pay attention to what is working for them--they just blindly push against the rock without realizing there's a lever nearby. That's my non-veteran advice.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Awesome,
I gave the man his answer. I am sincere and I am speaking from deep deep experience.
These boards are habit forming.
Want proof? Watch how many hits there are to topics even when no one is adding to the discussion. watch the topics that are more likely to contain a fight and see how the hit count grows. There are literally thousands of lurkers here who could/should be doing better things with their time (and before you say it, no I do not disinclude myself, I am the person who coined the word "Postaholic" nearly 7 years ago. I'm the guy who introduced the concept of "The Doppler Effect of posts" where post going away from you sound calm and melodious, whereas the same post comming at you sounds shrill and alarming).
So Newbian Gosh, don't be so quick to dismiss the advice that doesn't echo the sentiment you had in the first place. 

blarmston's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-26

Managing the emotional swings... That's a huge part of why people fail in this business. I cant tell you how many times I have seen the following:
FA gets commitment from a prospect to ACAT a huge account that will generate nice production. Natural thought is to relax- "my month/quarter/year is taken care of". FA puts their feet up- comes in a little later, leaves earlier, doesnt grind as hard as they should. They still prospect, but half assed (" Mr. Prospect is moving over that $18MM account- I am set..."). Even without consciously knowing they are doing it, they placed 'all their eggs in one basket"...
A month or two down the road, FA gets a call from Prospect saying its a NO GO (insert million reasons why here..). FA is crushed. Now some lay down and let nature take its course. Others suck it up and grind on. Only thing is, they have just wasted a month/ quarter when you could have been conducting business as usual.
For seasoned FA's with decent books they bounce back, some more quickly then others. For trainees that are grinding to hit asset/ production goals, its the sweet sweet kiss of death. Thanks for playing but- buh bye...
In summary, managing your emotions and not getting too high or too low is CRUCIAL... You need to have an even keel at all times, and only get excited when you ge tto the office one morning and those monies from the big ACAT is actually sitting in the account. ( As you can tell, I have some experience with this scenario over the years...)

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

mooose wrote:
Hello everyone, seems like a lot of veterans here like to illustrate how hard it is to succeed in this business.  From your experiences what are some specifice reasons for failure and success in this industry.  Anything more than the obvious "hard work."
mooose

Many newbies don't realize that this a sales career. They can't or won't sell. The pictured themselves sitting behind a desk, wearing a headset, buying and selling stocks all day. Dreams may die hard, but they die a lot faster when faced with the realities of this business.
Other reasons, failure to work enough or effectively enough. No plan.
Inability to close. This is systemic because of training.
However, reason number one: Fear of the phone. When that puppy gets to weighing about a thousand pounds it's time to find something else to do. And so they do.

tri$mom's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-09

However, reason number one: Fear of the phone. When that puppy gets to weighing about a thousand pounds it's time to find something else to do. And so they do.

Why do most new FAs seem to use cold/warm calling as a method of generating leads?  It seems like this would only work if you already knew you had a lead, especially in an era of DNC. 
I'm just wondering how many of you actually got leads from cold calling that generated business vs other methods of prospecting?

doberman's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-22

blarmston wrote:
Managing the emotional swings... That's a huge part of why people fail in this business. I cant tell you how many times I have seen the following:
FA gets commitment from a prospect to ACAT a huge account that will generate nice production. Natural thought is to relax- "my month/quarter/year is taken care of". FA puts their feet up- comes in a little later, leaves earlier, doesnt grind as hard as they should. They still prospect, but half assed (" Mr. Prospect is moving over that $18MM account- I am set..."). Even without consciously knowing they are doing it, they placed 'all their eggs in one basket"...
A month or two down the road, FA gets a call from Prospect saying its a NO GO (insert million reasons why here..). FA is crushed. Now some lay down and let nature take its course. Others suck it up and grind on. Only thing is, they have just wasted a month/ quarter when you could have been conducting business as usual.
For seasoned FA's with decent books they bounce back, some more quickly then others. For trainees that are grinding to hit asset/ production goals, its the sweet sweet kiss of death. Thanks for playing but- buh bye...
In summary, managing your emotions and not getting too high or too low is CRUCIAL... You need to have an even keel at all times, and only get excited when you ge tto the office one morning and those monies from the big ACAT is actually sitting in the account. ( As you can tell, I have some experience with this scenario over the years...)

Bingo, Blarm! You hit the nail on the head.

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

I have to say, one of the things I see at Jones a lot is when newbies only
try one type of prospecting (typically door-knocking). Many don't even
consider another type of prospecting. Some don't even door-knock
businesses. They do strictly residential door-knocking. When that
doesn't work, they are like deer in headlights. I have to say, I don't blame
Jones for that. They get you started, but they can't hand it to you on
silver platters. You have to use some of your own initiative, instincts, and
research ability. Step back and realize that everyone is different, areas of
the country are different, and maybe, just maybe, you need to try
something else (even if it's uncomfortable at first!).

EDJ4now's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-08

Most failure comes down to the pain of rejection outweighing reward of closing a sale. 
You don't see how this could ever happen to you (I didn't), but after a few days, months, even years, the rejection starts to wear on you, and you can make excuses for not calling and for not closing when you do call or get an appointment.
The way I described starting in the business to a friend of mine was like this:  Imagine you knock on someone's door, and as politely as possible ask them for a moment of their time.  They then kick you in the nuts so hard you drop to the ground.  Repeat this at least 25 times a day, 6 days a week for 2 years.  Very occasionally someone will suprise you and not kick you, but not often. 
If you keep this up long enough eventually 2 things will happen.  First, you will develop a tough skin that makes those kicks not hurt nearly as bad as they once did.  Second, after a while some people stop kicking you and actually listen to you and follow your advice.  The trick is to keep getting up until those 2 things happen.  Most of the people I started with couldn't keep getting up, that's why most of my peers from 4 years ago are now in different careers. 
By the way, most successful advisors I have spoken with have said that you have to survive either the first 3 or first 5 years, after that it gets much easier.  Personally I felt like I turned the corner at about 3 1/2 years.  Being too stubborn to quit is finally paying off.

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

tri$mom wrote:

However, reason number one: Fear of the phone. When that puppy gets to weighing about a thousand pounds it's time to find something else to do. And so they do.

Why do most new FAs seem to use cold/warm calling as a method of generating leads?  It seems like this would only work if you already knew you had a lead, especially in an era of DNC. 
I'm just wondering how many of you actually got leads from cold calling that generated business vs other methods of prospecting?

Many of us call business owners and corp execs, so DNC is not a factor.
Cold calling is used because it works. It's proactive and effective if done right. Whether it's calling with an offer or an invitation, most don't come close to doing right. Much of the criticism of cold calling comes from those who have never done it. They look down their noses at it. Yet, there are those of use who swear by it.

blarmston's picture
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"Many of us call business owners and corp execs, so DNC is not a factor. Cold calling is used because it works. It's proactive and effective if done right. Whether it's calling with an offer or an invitation, most don't come close to doing right. Much of the criticism of cold calling comes from those who have never done it. They look down their noses at it. Yet, there are those of use who swear by it."
In the past 6 weeks, after switching my marketing niche, I have had great success calling on Exec's and business owners. Had 2 meetings last week- an Exec with $1.4MM at Schwab, and a business owner with $2MM in the company 401K and $600K at a rival. Both have set second meetings and have provided statements.
This week I met with a business owner with $1.2MM in a business cash account and $400K in a DB plan (2 years old, growing rapidly, and he is not happy with current situaiton). Next week I have a meeting with 2 senior partners at a law firm- $2.5MM in 401k/PS plan and god knows what else in terms of personal money.
Point is- it can be done..

doberman's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-22

blarmston wrote:
Next week I have a meeting with 2 senior partners at a law firm- $2.5MM in 401k/PS plan and god knows what else in terms of personal money.
Point is- it can be done..

Don't forget your EIA brochures...

BondGuy's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-21

blarmston wrote:
"Many of us call business owners and corp execs, so DNC is not a factor. Cold calling is used because it works. It's proactive and effective if done right. Whether it's calling with an offer or an invitation, most don't come close to doing right. Much of the criticism of cold calling comes from those who have never done it. They look down their noses at it. Yet, there are those of use who swear by it."
In the past 6 weeks, after switching my marketing niche, I have had great success calling on Exec's and business owners. Had 2 meetings last week- an Exec with $1.4MM at Schwab, and a business owner with $2MM in the company 401K and $600K at a rival. Both have set second meetings and have provided statements.
This week I met with a business owner with $1.2MM in a business cash account and $400K in a DB plan (2 years old, growing rapidly, and he is not happy with current situaiton). Next week I have a meeting with 2 senior partners at a law firm- $2.5MM in 401k/PS plan and god knows what else in terms of personal money.
Point is- it can be done..

This is exactly what I'm talking about. The pipeline is starting to fill. By my count blarm is in front of 8 million dollars just over the past two weeks. That's 8 million more than he would have been in front of if he hadn't picked up the phone. It can only get better. Make your own opportunities. This is how big producers are made.
Blarm, I'm sure the gathered masses wouldn't mind it one bit if you'd  share your new niche and your approach. I know I'd love to hear it.

The Judge's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

This is an excellent/productive thread and one that I hope will continue in the same fashion.
With regard to prospecting, it's all about getting in front of people with big $.  And yes, I said "big $" as it takes the same amount of time/service/etc to service the very small accounts.  Now, that doesn't mean you don't make exceptions where it's warranted.
I have four set appointments (thus far) for next week .  The first is a retired individual who will be opening a fee-based account for approx. 700k; the second is a business owner worth about 6 million who wants/needs planning and will be moving over quite a bit in new assets to the firm.  The third individual has recently sold quite a bit of real estate and is liquid in the neighborhood of 10 million.  I'll likely only get a portion of that, but so be it.  The last appointment is with an individual who would appear on a "Who's who" list.  Net worth in excess of 200 million and a rolodex that could build all of our businesses'. Not that I'll ever gain access but why not die trying?
Point of the matter? ALL of these individuals were developed from cold calls.  No introduction, no favors. I made it happen, from my own efforts.  It didn't happen overnight and it has taken time.  Still, it works.  As I said many years ago on this forum:
"Shake the bushes; hunt for some elephants; hard to capture but imagine what one elephant could do for your entire forest!?"

tri$mom's picture
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Joined: 2007-02-09

blarmston wrote:
"Many of us call business owners and corp execs, so DNC is not a factor. Cold calling is used because it works. It's proactive and effective if done right. Whether it's calling with an offer or an invitation, most don't come close to doing right. Much of the criticism of cold calling comes from those who have never done it. They look down their noses at it. Yet, there are those of use who swear by it."
In the past 6 weeks, after switching my marketing niche, I have had great success calling on Exec's and business owners. Had 2 meetings last week- an Exec with $1.4MM at Schwab, and a business owner with $2MM in the company 401K and $600K at a rival. Both have set second meetings and have provided statements.
This week I met with a business owner with $1.2MM in a business cash account and $400K in a DB plan (2 years old, growing rapidly, and he is not happy with current situaiton). Next week I have a meeting with 2 senior partners at a law firm- $2.5MM in 401k/PS plan and god knows what else in terms of personal money.
Point is- it can be done..

Blarm and BondGuy:  Thanks for the explaination.  It sounds as thought your cold calling is focused though.  You're calling on a niche of people, not just walking down Street USA or shooting a dart at a phonebook and seeing what happens.  That completely makes sense and would seem to increase your odds of gaining a client.  Thanks for the feedback! 

tri$mom's picture
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The Judge wrote:
This is an excellent/productive thread and one that I hope will continue in the same fashion.
With regard to prospecting, it's all about getting in front of people with big $.  And yes, I said "big $" as it takes the same amount of time/service/etc to service the very small accounts.  Now, that doesn't mean you don't make exceptions where it's warranted.
I have four set appointments (thus far) for next week .  The first is a retired individual who will be opening a fee-based account for approx. 700k; the second is a business owner worth about 6 million who wants/needs planning and will be moving over quite a bit in new assets to the firm.  The third individual has recently sold quite a bit of real estate and is liquid in the neighborhood of 10 million.  I'll likely only get a portion of that, but so be it.  The last appointment is with an individual who would appear on a "Who's who" list.  Net worth in excess of 200 million and a rolodex that could build all of our businesses'. Not that I'll ever gain access but why not die trying?
Point of the matter? ALL of these individuals were developed from cold calls.  No introduction, no favors. I made it happen, from my own efforts.  It didn't happen overnight and it has taken time.  Still, it works.  As I said many years ago on this forum:
"Shake the bushes; hunt for some elephants; hard to capture but imagine what one elephant could do for your entire forest!?"

What's your secret Judge?  And good luck to you!

sooolgoode's picture
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I can agree with Blarm & Judge...i'm  2 months into it and have done maybe 40-50 cold calls total. I attract about 1 million a month. No one is out of reach, I glean announcements in the papers, and basically anyone i feel that may sport a $200,000 or more sized portfolio.
Cold calling will work, if you believe in it and target those with money.
I go by two rules:
1. If they're not dealing with me, they're dealing with some other broker/adviser, so its fair game to test the waters. I don't care what firm they're with, its a reason to meet. The firm they say they are with is a reason to meet, because "...I'm glad your with XYZ, so are most of my clients, and my strategies compliment those of XYZ, we should really meet! How's tuesday 3pm?"
If you don't call them, someone else will. That's lost production that could've been in your pocket.
2. Manage your emotions and welcome "no", 'cuz you want to work with clients that sincerely see your value. Sell nothing over the phone, just find a reason to meet.
If you get the appointment and are face to face, you're 99% going to close the prospect.
 
 

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

Soolgoode,
Based upon your post, you are either full of it or lazy.
If you close everybody and call on people who can invest more than $200,000, you are only meeting with 5 people a month. 
I do like your 2 rules.

sooolgoode's picture
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Joined: 2007-03-10

I don't close over the phone, i just find a reason to meet. If you are focused on a reason to meet versus "I sell fee base,etc" in your cold calling script, you'll find it working for you.
When we meet in person I use everything I learned from Horsesmouth.com to govern that first meeting. That's my secret.
And its more like $900,000/month, sorry.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

 Again, if you are being honest, then you are only working 1-2 days a month since you must only meet with 4-5 people since that is all that it takes to bring in $900,000 with a 99% closing ratio.

4luvofmoney's picture
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Some sales people actually have a very good sales voice and present a better impression over the phone than in person.  (Maybe they are a sloppy dresser, distracting mannerisms, body language, etc.)  Insurances sales people who may be required to be licensed in several states certainly can't meet people in person and must "close" over the phone.  If you can close in person, do so: but doesn't always work out this way.

Indyone's picture
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"distracting mannerisms"
...like constant underlining and italics in their posts...

troll's picture
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Indyone wrote:"distracting mannerisms"
...like constant underlining and italics in their posts...And offering opinions upon topics about which they apparently know nothing, since after all "they aren't an FA"

4luvofmoney's picture
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Do know a little something about SALES (related to the topic at hand) since I have a friend who sells insurance to many people in OTHER STATES. OKAY.
Look ma, underlines gone.
Seems like you want to inhibit FREE speech by chasing people off this site?  Now that's not very nice.  Does your client know how nasty you are?
-Italics mine.

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

4luvofmoney, Let me be the first to apologize.  I thought that you were just some guy who knew nothing about the business.  Now that we know that you have a friend that sells things, we can all start coming to you for advice.   Can we assume that your special friend is Planrcoach? 

4luvofmoney's picture
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nope, someone else.  You don't have to come to me for advice. But if I know something on the topic as I did (you can't always close in person) then just allow me to post it.  that's all.  Does it really bother you that much that a non-fa posts something on this site?
u r right--I am some guy who knows nothing about working as an fa but if I want to post something on a topic, I'd like to be able to do that without being chatised.  There's no registration criteria that states you MUST be an fa to post here.
Quit referring to me or responding to my posts and you'll hear less from me.  
Geeze,  Move on people.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

This was a great thread, that seems to have dengrated into a hockey game!
Nobody can convince me that cold calling doesnt work. 2 points to consider:
1. you need to do other things, networking etc.
2. Todays cold call is different than the old days - what doesnt work, at least as well as it used to, is calling people at home at night, who are not on the DNC list. What does work is targeted calling on an area, or target market or competency in which you are an expert
examples:
Calling corporate executives of a firm in which you have become an expert on their deferred comp plan
calling on CPA'S and CFO;s with information on Safe Harbor rules
you get the picture. This is like any other business - if you want clients, you need to reach out to prospects, and the phone is one efficient way to do it. Just be smart about it, and you wont look like th jerk in the Schwab commercial. 
 

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Cold calling works great. Especially when you call people who have been sold some low performing American Funds by a guy whose destiny is in the hands of his competitors.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Bobby Hull wrote:Cold calling works great. Especially when you call people who have been sold some low performing American Funds by a guy whose destiny is in the hands of his competitors.
Ignore him. He's been around forever, with many different names, always trash talking never helping anyone. The great thing about this forum is the opportunity to share great ideas. Best we ignore the trolls.

goforbroke's picture
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Bobby Hull wrote:Cold calling works great. Especially when you call people who have been sold some low performing American Funds by a guy whose destiny is in the hands of his competitors.
Bobby Hull wrote:Cold calling works great. Especially when you call people who have been sold some low performing American Funds by a guy whose destiny is in the hands of his competitors.
Seems like he is just contributing to the topic.

Philo Kvetch's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-17

mooose wrote: Hello everyone, seems like a lot of veterans here like to
illustrate how hard it is to succeed in this business.  From your experiences
what are some specifice reasons for failure and success in this industry. 
Anything more than the obvious "hard work."
mooose

Mooose, do yourself a favor...concentrate on the "Causes of Success"; not
the causes of failure.

ibfa7's picture
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Joined: 2007-03-22

Broker24 wrote:I have to say, one of the things I see at Jones a lot is when newbies only try one type of prospecting (typically door-knocking). Many don't even consider another type of prospecting. Some don't even door-knock businesses. They do strictly residential door-knocking. When that doesn't work, they are like deer in headlights. I have to say, I don't blame Jones for that. They get you started, but they can't hand it to you on silver platters. You have to use some of your own initiative, instincts, and research ability. Step back and realize that everyone is different, areas of the country are different, and maybe, just maybe, you need to try something else (even if it's uncomfortable at first!).
 
The best quote I have ever heard was "If it feels uncomfortable, your doing something right"

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