How in the world do you make it??

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monimommy's picture
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Joined: 2007-10-17

Okay, so I work for one of the major wirehouses and I am just wondering how you really make it as a financial advisor? All of the Sr. Advisors seem to not really want to give up any information in regards to their success except for a lot of their business is from their SOI and the fact that they build their books on the books of the FA's who dont make it...There are about 3 FA's that have been at my company for 4 years and they are all doing okay but they are exceptions because they had a lot of money coming in and the other one that has made it has no kids, husband, etc. Is that what it takes...Then there are all of us in the training program who are holding on for dear life. Some are cold calling and seeing no success and everyone else is on a "TEAM" with a Sr. FA....What I want to know is, can you make it in this industry without joining a team and if so, How other than cold calling?I find it very interesting that after the 2 year mark, everyone leaves because years 3-5 are so tough...Any help is greatly appreciated...Monimommy

deekay's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-15

Read the following post:
http://forums.registeredrep.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=4673&KW=two+year+war
 
Also, how many joint appointments do you keep?  If you are new, you should bring a senior advisor along.  50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.  Also, we have a huge responsibility to the public.  We should give them the best advice we can.  Because you are new (presumably), you may not know all you need to. 
 
Also, desparation can be sensed by your prospects.  You bring a rep who is settled and who doesn't need the business, your chances for success go way up.
 
Good luck.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

This may sound trite, but I really believe it can still be done.
You need to be on the phone A LOT. But you also need to be networking from day one. It takes 2 years of networking (BNI, Le Tip, Chambers, Charities, Kiwanis, etc - anywhere you can meet and get to know a lot of good people) for it to start to bear fruit. The cold calling will get you enough to get by, as a supplement to the salary you get the first two years. But as you said, year 3 and 4 are the toughest, as the salary is gone. If you start to network right away, it will pay off when you need it the most.
I think the biggest problem is the way the industry hires. The theory they use is just to throw enough shit on the wall and see what sticks. I would advocate we pay trainees 80k instead of 40k, give them more thn 2 years, and hire half as many, but more qualified folks. Only those with 5 years plus experience in busienss, preferab;y sales, and a nice rolodex to get them started. If we did that, you would see a much better succes rate and return on investment. Hiring kids just out of school, or a year out of school, is doing the, the firm and clients a big injustice. JMHO  

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

It's tough. I work for Jones and derive nearly 100% of my income from commissions.
I've asked numerous FAs, numerous times how they continuously generate $45-$50K in commissions month after month after month, when most of them aren't even taking on new clients. I have yet to get an answer I'm content with.
 
Do they call the same people over and over and tell them about the latest muni bond that's available? Do they go through their book and try to sell them life insurance or LTC?
 
I've been licensed for nearly two years, and I'm hanging in there, but I'm not sure I can maintain my sanity in a career that requires either bringing in boatloads of new money, or moving existing money around, every month for the next 30 years.
 

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-30

Those people consistently doing $50K/month or more probably (1) have a lot of annuitization in their book, i.e., fee-based, 12b-1 fees, etc., and/or have built a substantial book that generates numbers just by replacing maturities, etc., (2) are established enough to get considerable numbers of client/professional referrals, and/or (3) never forgot or abandoned the work ethic that got them to where they are.
 
It's kind of like I told another guy in a similar situation to yours...hang in there...these are the toughest years you will have in your career.  Survive these and you will join an exclusive club and reap the benefits of success.  While you're surviving, pass the time by busting your butt seeing clients and prospects and setting appointments...you'll be surprised at how time flies when you're busy.

troll's picture
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pratoman wrote:I think the biggest problem is the way the industry hires. The theory they use is just to throw enough shit on the wall and see what sticks. I would advocate we pay trainees 80k instead of 40k, give them more thn 2 years, and hire half as many, but more qualified folks. Only those with 5 years plus experience in busienss, preferab;y sales, and a nice rolodex to get them started. If we did that, you would see a much better succes rate and return on investment. Hiring kids just out of school, or a year out of school, is doing the, the firm and clients a big injustice. JMHO  Exactly.  We put people on the streets with just enough knowledge to be dangerous to someone's financial well being.On the other hand, if you want to be an electrician, say in Local 1 which is the one that works on Broadway(NYC), you have to spend about 2 years as an apprentice.  You basically start out carrying some guy's bag, and you learn about the different tools because your fetching them from the bag and putting them away for him.  Then he teaches you how to do a few more things when you're ready.  Then you spend a few more years as a journeyman electrician, and have to pass another test to become a master electrician.  This mentoring process blows away anything we do as a matter of normal practice in our industry.

Ashland's picture
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Joined: 2007-03-06

Start at a bank(negotiate keeping your licenses). That way you know where the money is. Start as a personal banker - that way you learn to talk to people with money in a nonthreatening fashion and learn to be comfortable in front of them. Create a process for asking them what's important and who's important and what they're doing to accomplish their what's & take care of their who's. Book a few loans, open a few checking accounts. Get paid by the hour for your time, and for learning about rich people(and poor people so you know the difference when it counts). Learn how to advise people how to grow their money in a nonthreatening manner(deposits are good for short-term goals. Mutual funds & annuities are good for long-term goals. Insurance advances money to you and your loved ones if something bad happens). Find a mentor to teach you about life planning & read a lot. How people move through the different stages from childhood & education to early adulthood & debt to kids & more debt and more responsibility etc. Ask your mentor how he/she built his/her business & the why's behind it. Move from the PB role to the FC or FA role & the money will follow because you already know where it is.

In the 2 - 3 year period your life will be easier because you have a base. In the 5 yr period you'll be at the same place as every other FA /FC. Let people say what they will about bank brokers... If you educate yourself, can speak simple English with your clients, are research driven, make trade offs in accepting clients that some reps wouldn't touch, and deal with the politics, you'll find and work with more money than 90% of the reps that are in the Wire or Indy worlds. Oh, and you'll be home nights to be a mommy, too.

monimommy's picture
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Joined: 2007-10-17

Thanks so much for all of the response. Sometimes I feel like I am in this secret society where no one really wants to give up the real details on how they have built their books.. I am coming into this from a sales background but this is a whole different world...Happy Holidays!

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

I totally agree with IndyOne's comments. They are dead on. Its a business of longevity, and if you want those 40, 50,000 months and even 100k months, you should be annuitizing every dollar in assets that you can, as long as appropriate for the client. Then do a mortgage here, an insurance policy there, get a couple of clients doing syndicate, and you are set. But annuitiziation is the key. Doing it on commissions is not going to get you there in the world we live in. If thats the Jones model (and I am not bashing jones, i dont know enough about them, never paid attention) then you should get out of there and if possible get with a wirehouse in their training program, to buy you time (with a salary for two years), or find a way to go Indy/work for an Indy or something, who works with a B.D that has fee based platforms.

stokwiz's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-04

I started 18 years ago with only a sponsorship for the 7 and an understanding I'd get leads and training when I passed. After passing the exam, I thought I had a license to print money. I was wrong. Given a phone, phone book, and desk. Just like everything else worth having , you must work hard. In this business, working hard means talking to alot of people. I would buy (and read)Bill Goods Prospecting your way to sales success book, Nick Murrays Excellent Investment Advisor and The Art of Marketing Mutual Funds.  Focus on a product you understand and would have a broad appeal to your target market ( My book is almost exclusively business executives and owners, and that's who I started with- go where the money is). Don't call residences at all, and only pique interest and sell an appointment on the call. The Art Of Marketing Mutual Funds will give you a good idea of how to structure your presentations. It really boils down to contacts. 25 a day as a matter of discipline will provide the results you want. Remember that you will get better and better with every call.  Always remember work like few people will early on and live like few people can for the rest of your life.
 
Stok

Broker24's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-12

monimommy wrote:Thanks so much for all of the response. Sometimes I feel like I am in this secret society where no one really wants to give up the real details on how they have built their books.. I am coming into this from a sales background but this is a whole different world...Happy Holidays!
 
That's because they all did it differently, and chances are it was pieced together like everyone in this business....some cold calling, some doorknocking, some seminars, some referrals, some networking, some fellow brokers dying or leaving the firm (or biz), etc.  Most advisors cannot point to one way they got all their business, or "how" they did it.  Yes, there are a select few that figured something out early on (i.e., some great niche or specialty), but most just hung in there until the beast just started to feed itself.
 
Early on it's sort of like gathering snow....fist you are trying to grab the first snowflakes falling from the sky, but by the next day the storm has dumped 12 inches and there's more than you know what to do with.  It's all about longevity and hanging in there past year 3.

donatello's picture
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Joined: 2007-12-22

Find your niche~this can be as simple as looking at the businesses around you, and deciding you will be the expert on those 2 companies or groups. Can have 3, should not be 4.
A wise person told me nothing good happens in the office. Live by it. Be out. I don't care where you go, but be out. Find 5 new people a week that you have determined you want as new clients, and send them cards, make calls, send e-mails....7 times in 5 months. Put them on a schedule. After that, then tell them the truth...."I really want you as a client. What can I...is there something I can do to achieve that?"
 
Get your best clients together for an "I love you dinner". Before they come, let them know you will be asking for their help in your business. Do this every quarter. Find someone to pay for it.
 
Always keep your word. If you say you are going to do it...do it.
 
Have a big calendar with all the months of the year on your wall...put an "X" through every day that you accomplish meeting the right number of people. Make another mark when you have exercised as you should. Makes a difference. Don't drink too much, and eat good.
 
Look 10 years ahead in every decision you make, including which clients you will and will not take. Turn down a client that is not nice, can't take your advise, or has no money. Make your clients qualify to be with you. Be stuck up. Doesn't mean you don't love on those that are yours. Make sure they know you are loyal. But...Be cocky without being a jerk.
 
Find someone who is good at sales....not the analyst guy or the guy who's been given everything. Beg him for help. Give him something he needs in return. Take notes and practice how you look. Dress nice.
 
Have fun. Nothing is more inviting than a person who gets really animated when talking about investments. You're changing people's lives! What a noble profession when done the right way. This is not about you making money. It's about the client AND you making money....the appropriate amount that is acceptable to both. Your practice and how you manage it is a win-win for both when run the good and ethical way.
 
If you do these things...you will not/can not fail.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

iceco1d wrote:donatello wrote:
Find your niche~this can be as simple as looking at the businesses around you, and deciding you will be the expert on those 2 companies or groups. Can have 3, should not be 4.
A wise person told me nothing good happens in the office. Live by it. Be out. I don't care where you go, but be out. Find 5 new people a week that you have determined you want as new clients, and send them cards, make calls, send e-mails....7 times in 5 months. Put them on a schedule. After that, then tell them the truth...."I really want you as a client. What can I...is there something I can do to achieve that?"
 
Get your best clients together for an "I love you dinner". Before they come, let them know you will be asking for their help in your business. Do this every quarter. Find someone to pay for it.
 
Always keep your word. If you say you are going to do it...do it.
 
Have a big calendar with all the months of the year on your wall...put an "X" through every day that you accomplish meeting the right number of people. Make another mark when you have exercised as you should. Makes a difference. Don't drink too much, and eat good.
 
Look 10 years ahead in every decision you make, including which clients you will and will not take. Turn down a client that is not nice, can't take your advise, or has no money. Make your clients qualify to be with you. Be stuck up. Doesn't mean you don't love on those that are yours. Make sure they know you are loyal. But...Be cocky without being a jerk.
 
Find someone who is good at sales....not the analyst guy or the guy who's been given everything. Beg him for help. Give him something he needs in return. Take notes and practice how you look. Dress nice.
 
Have fun. Nothing is more inviting than a person who gets really animated when talking about investments. You're changing people's lives! What a noble profession when done the right way. This is not about you making money. It's about the client AND you making money....the appropriate amount that is acceptable to both. Your practice and how you manage it is a win-win for both when run the good and ethical way.
 
If you do these things...you will not/can not fail.
 
That all seems like good advice...except to turn down people that "have no money."  Now obviously, if they literally have NO MONEY, than they probably are homeless, and won't ever be worth your time.
 
However, take the uncle that comes in to start a 529 for his nephew with $500.  You could shun him because you are going to make $15 for a few hours of your time.  Or, you could spend those few hours with him.  Show him why he should systematically invest in the 529; even if it's $15 a month (many 529s have a $15 min. for additional contributions).  Perhaps during that conversation you learn that he has a Rollover IRA...and so does his wife.  Schedule another meeting to transfer those accounts; I also ALWAYS take the time to review my clients 401K/457/403B/TSP etc., even if my firm isn't an approved carrier of the account, and if it won't pay me anything.  It shows your client you care, and it's probably more than his last advisor did for him. 
 
My point is, that just because the immediate client doesn't have much money; or they aren't looking at a product or service that is going to be immediately profitable...it may pay in the end to spend the time...it's much easier to get additional assets from an existing client, than it is from one you didn't even call/cold walk/meet yet.  And it's much easier to get referrals that turn into clients as well.  In the above case, if you do "right" by the uncle, when he sends you a referral, they are going to be pre-disposed to trust you.  Just my .02.  I never turn down a client because of how much money they do, or do not, have (at the time).  That seems like a great idea until you end up wasting lots of time on people who have no money....

deekay's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-15

If they have no money, there is a need to sell them insurance (life and DI).  Sell them that instead of some crappy 529.

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

So, we annuitize our business to bring in $12-$15,000 or so per month automatically, and then do the additional $20-25K with money that comes due and from referrals. That makes sense, and as simple as that sounds, we newbies aren't told exactly how the business will evolve and eventually provide more consistent income for the advisor.
 
We're just told to "hang in there."
 
 

Gaddock's picture
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Monimommye <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
 
Hello Monimommy,
Holy smoke this is a hard gig to get started. If it were easy everybody would be making the big bucks. The reality is one in ten actually make it. I just ended my fifth month in production and my gross is just under $25K. ALL of it is from cold calling. I have no desire to open accounts with my family and friends at this point, as I want to be certain I’m going to make it first. I’ve made HUGE errors again and again had I been smooth and good at selling I could have twice that. Learn learn learn … You have to embrace rejection. Don Connelly said this business is about three things Prospecting ___ Closing ___ Referrals, it’s that simple but simple by no means = easy. That perfectly sums things up for me. He also said you have to do the things that those who fail wouldn’t. I’ve made a little over 19,000 dials. The other brokers in your office are your direct competition WHEN YOU FAIL THEY GET THE REWARDS OF YOUR WORK. The one thought if any that keeps me going is the idea some other person would get the results of my huge toil, NO F-ING WAY!!!
 
The cold calling thing at first seems impossible but it’s not you have to get over the fear buzz and keep on going no matter what. As for the years before things get a bit easier it’s my understanding that if you are still standing at the end of your third year you’ve made it. I brought in $900k ish this month, most in a month yet for me and have some huge potential cases that are coming up in early Jan. again every single one is from cold calling. I did a preliminary on my calling statistics.
 
367 cold call contacts produces (not just dials)
 
14 That are TRULY qualified and TRULY have interest, of that I will make
 
1 of them a client after
 
9 CONTACTS
 
I’m sure some may say those stats are terrible & I could message them to make them look better but I would only be fooling myself & maybe they are BUT they are what they are and I’m still standing. Actually I’m rather proud as I have nobody in my office that is new or helping me in any way. Every spec of business I’ve produced is from my own blood sweat & tears.
 YOU CAN DO IT !!!!!

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-30

There's a guy that will make it.

12345's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-04

Gaddock wrote:
Monimommye <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
 
Hello Monimommy,
Holy smoke this is a hard gig to get started. If it were easy everybody would be making the big bucks. The reality is one in ten actually make it. I just ended my fifth month in production and my gross is just under $25K. ALL of it is from cold calling. I have no desire to open accounts with my family and friends at this point, as I want to be certain I’m going to make it first. I’ve made HUGE errors again and again had I been smooth and good at selling I could have twice that. Learn learn learn … You have to embrace rejection. Don Connelly said this business is about three things Prospecting ___ Closing ___ Referrals, it’s that simple but simple by no means = easy. That perfectly sums things up for me. He also said you have to do the things that those who fail wouldn’t. I’ve made a little over 19,000 dials. The other brokers in your office are your direct competition WHEN YOU FAIL THEY GET THE REWARDS OF YOUR WORK. The one thought if any that keeps me going is the idea some other person would get the results of my huge toil, NO F-ING WAY!!!
 
The cold calling thing at first seems impossible but it’s not you have to get over the fear buzz and keep on going no matter what. As for the years before things get a bit easier it’s my understanding that if you are still standing at the end of your third year you’ve made it. I brought in $900k ish this month, most in a month yet for me and have some huge potential cases that are coming up in early Jan. again every single one is from cold calling. I did a preliminary on my calling statistics.
 
367 cold call contacts produces (not just dials)
 
14 That are TRULY qualified and TRULY have interest, of that I will make
 
1 of them a client after
 
9 CONTACTS
 
I’m sure some may say those stats are terrible & I could message them to make them look better but I would only be fooling myself & maybe they are BUT they are what they are and I’m still standing. Actually I’m rather proud as I have nobody in my office that is new or helping me in any way. Every spec of business I’ve produced is from my own blood sweat & tears.
 YOU CAN DO IT !!!!!
 
Monimommy,
Do yourself a favor and search for some of Gaddock's other posts. He has been a tremendous help to me and plenty of other people here. I start off every morning telling myself cold calling is easy and cold calling is fun, it may sound silly but after a few months of aggressively calling, I have actually started to enjoy it, yeah that's what I said I actually like cold calling. Sitting in a comfortable desk chair in a office or cubicle beats the hell out of digging ditches for a living, just remind yourself that there are far more difficult ways to earn a living out there and you are lucky to be where you are. Good luck!

doberman's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-22

Gaddock wrote:
 YOU CAN DO IT !!!!!
 
"Gad"zooks, Gaddock!! Good job!
 
One of the most frustrating things, for a newby to read, is how easy this job is to acquire a six-figure income. The corpses of failed brokers line Wall Street. Many of these corpses were ethical, smart brokers who would have been a benefit to their clients and firm. However, because they failed at persistence, they failed at their career. Thereby, indirectly, doing a disservice to any potential clients and their firm.
 
Listen, most of the major firms offer the same products, same services, at the same prices. And should some firm invent some revolutionary investment product, you can bet that everyone else will jump on that bandwagon toot sweet! So, it all boils down to you being the competitive difference. Quite simply, what will make your firm better than everyone else is you. Yeah, yeah, sounds hokey, but it's true.
 
So, what makes you different from the other brokers? And you can't say: technology-(I can buy that stuff), products-(I can make that stuff), prices-(I can lower my prices). So, what's left? If you can't answer that question, you'll never make it.
 
If you want to find the answer, read "best practices"-type books. What do highly-regarded brokers do? Adopt those guidelines, consistently apply those guidelines, and market yourself like crazy. Before long, you'll be on the cover of Registered Rep (and you won't be in prison stripes).
 
 

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

donatello wrote: Find your niche~this can be as simple as looking at the businesses around you, and deciding you will be the expert on those 2 companies or groups. Can have 3, should not be 4.
A wise person told me nothing good happens in the office. Live by it. Be out. I don't care where you go, but be out. Find 5 new people a week that you have determined you want as new clients, and send them cards, make calls, send e-mails....7 times in 5 months. Put them on a schedule. After that, then tell them the truth...."I really want you as a client. What can I...is there something I can do to achieve that?"
 
Get your best clients together for an "I love you dinner". Before they come, let them know you will be asking for their help in your business. Do this every quarter. Find someone to pay for it.
 
Always keep your word. If you say you are going to do it...do it.
 
Have a big calendar with all the months of the year on your wall...put an "X" through every day that you accomplish meeting the right number of people. Make another mark when you have exercised as you should. Makes a difference. Don't drink too much, and eat good.
 
Look 10 years ahead in every decision you make, including which clients you will and will not take. Turn down a client that is not nice, can't take your advise, or has no money. Make your clients qualify to be with you. Be stuck up. Doesn't mean you don't love on those that are yours. Make sure they know you are loyal. But...Be cocky without being a jerk.
 
Find someone who is good at sales....not the analyst guy or the guy who's been given everything. Beg him for help. Give him something he needs in return. Take notes and practice how you look. Dress nice.
 
Have fun. Nothing is more inviting than a person who gets really animated when talking about investments. You're changing people's lives! What a noble profession when done the right way. This is not about you making money. It's about the client AND you making money....the appropriate amount that is acceptable to both. Your practice and how you manage it is a win-win for both when run the good and ethical way.
 
If you do these things...you will not/can not fail.

Where do u find RANDOM people to pay for ur fancy dinners & a group of clients?

BigRed's picture
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Joined: 2007-04-15

The Netherlands

JBrowntown's picture
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Joined: 2007-10-25

bumped for good read

schlemoc's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-11

I just watched "two for the money", and I found it interesting how DeNiro grooms the individual to be a picker and a seller.  It had a lot of great points on understanding clients, their needs, and addressing them.  Granted, this movie has no origins in stocks, but it did have a pretty insightful spin on selling something to individuals.

schlemoc's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-11

Yeah Pacino.  My bad.  I watched about 4 different movies and DeNiro was in the last one.  Just a little confusion.  Good movie though.

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