Should I even bother with AXA?

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Muhny's picture
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Greeting everyone!I'm a long-time reader, but first time poster.I've been looking into FA jobs for a little while, but no luck actually getting a job yet.  I guess it's harder than it used to be to find firms that will take you without a license.Anyway, I have been going through the interview process with AXA Advisors.  From what I hear, it's more of a life insurance job than an FA job.  They haven't revealed too much about the training or how the marketing funnel is supposed to work, but maybe I am too early in the process.So far, I have been to an orientation, and an interview with a branch VP and his "top advisor."  I took some online test that is supposed to measure my success and they have called back since... in a very excited tone.I have a million questions... really, I'm not even sure if I should call them back.  Most of the forums seem to be pretty negative about AXA.  Can anyone say anything positive?  It seems many life insurance companies don't have you take the series 7(AXA is one of the one companies that does), so isn't that a benefit? Since all the training stuff is "pre-contract," I was thinking about accepting the job (if offered) and keeping looking for something better while in "pre-contract."If I can't get a better job, I figure I'll just stay and hash it out.Oh yea.. they mentioned that they don't do traditional prospecting.  My assumption is that I have to bug all my friends to buy stuff.  Am I right?  What happens when I run out of friends?  I mean, even if I have 300 friends to call on.... they will eventually dry up if I don't do any more prospecting of any kind.Why is this sounding like Amway to me?Any thoughts? Advice?

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

What does a financial advisor do?
There are certainly better companies if your want to sell insurance than AXA.
You don't have to bug your friends to buy stuff.  However, you'd be a fool not to call them.  Who is most likely to give you referrals?  Your friends and family.
If you are going to sell insurance and you think that insurance is important, at death or disability, would you rather make sure that you've protected the family of a stranger or your sister?

h2ozep's picture
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Joined: 2009-04-02

Muhny,

I am in the same boat as you. I was offered the conditional job at AXA
and accepted. I passed the 7 and the H&L insurance exams and only
have the 66 left.

The only other firm I found that was hiring newbies
was Edward Jones (which might be what you are looking for as it is a true FA job), but be aware
that you are locked in there a good amount of time due to the way their
contract works.

I figure I will give AXA a shot and at worst I will
have my licenses and a year of sales experience when applying to
other firms (in what will hopefully be a better economy).

Another reason I figure I will give AXA, aside from the fact that
ML/SB/UBS/WF  have canceled their training programs and are not hiring,
is that the they are all in the process of combining and merging. I
can only imagine will have major cuts and huge changes to their
systems. It will probably take them a year just to get all of that
straightened out which matches up with the time frame that I will stay
with AXA if it is not a good fit.Good Luck!-Fellow Newbie

someonewouldntexpect's picture
Joined: 2008-10-25

Something about their tone and structure turned me off. 

MBA2FA's picture
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I sadly admit that I have an interview with them tomorrow.  On the bright side, I have a phone interview with EDJ in the afternoon.I have to work somewhere if I don't get hired by Jones.  Why AXA? because they will sponsor me for my series 7.  Do any other life insurance companies?

MBA2FA's picture
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Okay, so I went to the interview with AXA this morning.  They gave me a bunch of worksheets to fill out where I have to give them financial details of 100 of my closest friends.Basically, he said that if I complete the forms, I got the job.  He says he promises not to call all my friends when I turn the forms in.  The supposedly need them to do a "market analysis" or something.This marketing model doesn't seem to be very sustainable (for the individual).  What happens after I burn through my 100 friends?  This is beginning to sound like Amway.The manager said that they never do cold calling of any kind.  I can't imagine growing a business without ever prospecting.  So my question is... why don't I leave my friends alone and go straight to prospecting?Perhaps AXA requires selling to friends because their products suck so bad that only a friend would buy them.Then there is the fact that I have to pay for everything up front.Jones is looking better every day.

troll's picture
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MBA2FA wrote:Okay, so I went to the interview with AXA this morning.  They gave me a bunch of worksheets to fill out where I have to give them financial details of 100 of my closest friends.Basically, he said that if I complete the forms, I got the job.  He says he promises not to call all my friends when I turn the forms in.  The supposedly need them to do a "market analysis" or something.This marketing model doesn't seem to be very sustainable (for the individual).  What happens after I burn through my 100 friends?  This is beginning to sound like Amway.The manager said that they never do cold calling of any kind.  I can't imagine growing a business without ever prospecting.  So my question is... why don't I leave my friends alone and go straight to prospecting?Perhaps AXA requires selling to friends because their products suck so bad that only a friend would buy them.Then there is the fact that I have to pay for everything up front.Jones is looking better every day.
 
You're probably too smart for this business. Why did you choose to name yourself after your degree? Did you know that rectal thermometers have degrees, also?

anonymous's picture
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"The manager said that they never do cold calling of any kind.  I can't imagine growing a business without ever prospecting.  So my question is... why don't I leave my friends alone and go straight to prospecting?"

 
Go back and read my previous post.  I probably went 10 years without making a cold call.

MBA2FA's picture
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Well, I have a few problems with the "list" thing.  First, my contacts know me as a pharmaceutical marketing executive.  Most of these are HNW individuals who have existing accounts with big wire houses. They have been helping me in my search for jobs in my industry (to no avail).  So, next week, they are going to believe I just became an investment expert and they are going to transfer $1MM+ in assets to me and AXA?  Sure, some may throw me a bone out of pity, but will it be enough to replace a six-figure income in 2-3 years?At least with a model like EDJ, the prospects don't know me from Adam... but I am a nice guy with an MBA and a firm they have probably heard of before.  In the first two weeks, I can make more contacts than I presently have... and I don't have to worry about everyone hiding from me at church and neighborhood BBQ's.  Sure, I don't mind selling to my friends, but I don't want my livelihood to depend on it.I have risen to the top of sales forces multiple times and I have always started from scratch and never have needed to call on my friends if I didn't want to.

deekay's picture
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What anon is referring to is going to your Project 100 is to show them what you do and get referrals from those folks.  They may never become clients, but if they're friends, they'll want to help you.  In fact, your sole goal of each of those meetings is to get as many referrals as possible.
I hope this helps.

troll's picture
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MBA2FA wrote: I have risen to the top of sales forces multiple times and I have always started from scratch
 
You're lying. A top salesman would either still be at the top or would be snatched up by the firm of his choice. You are neither.

anonymous's picture
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MBA2FA wrote: Well, I have a few problems with the "list" thing.  First, my contacts know me as a pharmaceutical marketing executive.  Most of these are HNW individuals who have existing accounts with big wire houses. They have been helping me in my search for jobs in my industry (to no avail).  So, next week, they are going to believe I just became an investment expert and they are going to transfer $1MM+ in assets to me and AXA?  Sure, some may throw me a bone out of pity, but will it be enough to replace a six-figure income in 2-3 years?At least with a model like EDJ, the prospects don't know me from Adam... but I am a nice guy with an MBA and a firm they have probably heard of before.  In the first two weeks, I can make more contacts than I presently have... and I don't have to worry about everyone hiding from me at church and neighborhood BBQ's.  Sure, I don't mind selling to my friends, but I don't want my livelihood to depend on it.I have risen to the top of sales forces multiple times and I have always started from scratch and never have needed to call on my friends if I didn't want to.
 
Let's try my previous previous post again because reading comprehension seems to be an issue with you. 
 
You don't have to bug your friends to buy stuff.  However, you'd be a fool not to call them.  Who is most likely to give you referrals?  Your friends and family.  (Translation:  The idea is not for them to hand you million dollar accounts.  You are correct.  They won't do it.  They know you and like your professionalism.  They will refer you to colleagues.  They will refer you to friends.  They will refer you to new associates.  If they are respected, these people will become clients.  Because they came to you via referral, they will be more likely to refer you to others.)
If you are going to sell insurance and you think that insurance is important, at death or disability, would you rather make sure that you've protected the family of a stranger or your sister? (Translation: When one of your doctor friends becomes disabled and their family is screwed because of a lack of coverage(due to you not calling on him), part of the responsibility is squarely on your shoulders.)

Let me make this real simple for you.  There are no points for degree of difficulty.  They want you to call on your friends because your friends will give you referrals.  If you build a referral based business with a company like AXA, success is almost guaranteed.  If you build a cold call practice, failure is almost guaranteed.
 
"I have risen to the top of sales forces multiple times and I have always started from scratch and never have needed to call on my friends if I didn't want to."
 
Something doesn't pass the smell test with this one.  Please tell me what I'm missing.   People who are at the top of a sales force make high 6 figure or 7 or 8 figure incomes.  Yet, you are trying to take 2-3 years to get to 6 figures. 

MBA2FA's picture
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Anonymous, thanks for your explanation. Also thanks for your request for clarification on my past experience.  I'm not sure the insult on my reading comprehension is necessary, but I appreciate your advice nevertheless.Alice Cooper, you make accusations based on assumptions I never stated nor implied.  I am not a liar.I never claimed to be a top producer as a Financial Advisor.  I don't even have a series 7 license.  I have been a top sales producer in OTHER INDUSTRIES.I don't know much about being an FA beyond what I have learned in business school, research on the Internet, and by watching the movie "Boiler Room" That is why I am here asking my stupid questions.  I'd rather look stupid here than in a job interview.Going back to the 100 list.  I guess I assumed I would be selling to my contacts based on the fact I am supposed to provide the following information on each of them: Annual income, age, marital status, children, occupation, product needs, etc.  Oh yea... and the manager said I would be pitching to them.

anonymous's picture
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Why are you still not at the top of these multiple other sales organizations?  With your track record of great success, why don't you have your choice of great firms?

 
 

MBA2FA's picture
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I spent the last several years in the pharmaceutical industry.  I moved up from sales into sales management, then marketing management.My company laid me off.  This is what happens when several of your drugs go generic and your company has nothing to market.  The industry is in serious decline and there are very few pharmaceutical positions where I live.I probably would have my choice of great firms.... if they were hiring in my area, but they aren't.Remember... just because you don't understand my situation doesn't make me an idiot or a liar.  It just means you don't understand my situation.

anonymous's picture
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I'm not calling you a liar, but I am questioning you.
 
Top sales people don't move up from sales into sales management.  That is a move down for top sales people.   Sales management is a move up for average sales people, but a giant step down for people who were a top sales producer.
 
At the very least, I'm sensing some giant exaggerations. 
 
How many multiple times did you rise to the top of your selling profession?  How much money were you making?

voltmoie's picture
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Anonymous,  you are very wrong about top sales people moving into sales management.  Happens all the time for a variety of reasons.  I've seen it first hand dozens of times.

ReadyFireAim's picture
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If you build a referral based business with a company like AXA, success is almost guaranteed.  If you build a cold call practice, failure is almost guaranteed.

Does that mean I'm screwed without contacts?

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voltmoie wrote:Anonymous,  you are very wrong about top sales people moving into sales management.  Happens all the time for a variety of reasons.  I've seen it first hand dozens of times.
 
Please tell us more.  I'd like to know why dozens of people that you know would take pay cuts to move into management roles.

anonymous's picture
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ReadyFireAim wrote:
If you build a referral based business with a company like AXA, success is almost guaranteed.  If you build a cold call practice, failure is almost guaranteed.

Does that mean I'm screwed without contacts?
 
It absolutely does not mean that.  It means that you are going to need to learn to get referrals from your cold calls.  You'll need to get the referrals BEFORE they become clients.   Otherwise, without very deep pockets you will starve before you have a chance to learn the business.

SometimesNowhere's picture
Joined: 2008-12-22

anonymous wrote:voltmoie wrote:Anonymous,  you are very wrong about top sales people moving into sales management.  Happens all the time for a variety of reasons.  I've seen it first hand dozens of times.
 
Please tell us more.  I'd like to know why dozens of people that you know would take pay cuts to move into management roles.
 
I have actually heard of this several times. They are usually sales people that can't stomach the ups and downs of a commissioned job and decide they would give up some of the upside to eliminate some of the downside. Whether they are "top" sales people is debatable, top salespeople rarely if ever have a lot of downside. In my experience these are generally (not always, I don't know your story MBA) the upper 70-90 percentile. Better than most, not the best.

Moraen's picture
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Anon- I don't know much about it, but my guess would be it has to do with power.

voltmoie's picture
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anonymous wrote:voltmoie wrote:Anonymous,  you are very wrong about top sales people moving into sales management.  Happens all the time for a variety of reasons.  I've seen it first hand dozens of times.
 
Please tell us more.  I'd like to know why dozens of people that you know would take pay cuts to move into management roles.I won't go into specifics about my background but here is a list of reasons why I've seen this happen time and time:1. Not everyone is 100% focused on making every dime they can.  They get tired of the grind and want to do something different.2. A new challenge3. More time with the family4. Their long term goals are to run something and be the boss   ie: power5. A set and steady paycheckI could go on and on but just because you would not do it don't assume others would not. Three of the best pure sales people I've ever seen did it because they were young and could not see themselves selling their entire life. (they'll prob. be back in sales at somepoint)

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MBA2FA wrote: I'd like to thank the people who have been helpful.  I appreciate your comments.1. Is the training at EDJ really that good?  I used to be a sales trainer in pharma and knew full well, that there was a huge difference in reality between the way we trained and the way we actually sold.  Is this the case with EDJ?
 
Ummm...I think we need to find out what this guy means by "management". 
 
I'm still calling B.S. on this guy.  Seems a little too excited to put his background on here and a little too fruity with the smily faces.  I'd imagine going from "top producer in sales" and a 6 figure income to having zero job and maybe starting from scratch in a completely different industry wouldn't make many of us want to put smily faces all over our posts and avatar.

anonymous's picture
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People go from sales into management all of the time.    These tend to be people who are above average in what they do.  I'm talking, however, about superstars because MBA2FA became a sales superstar multiple times starting from scratch.
 
Why would someone like this move into management?  Why would management want to lose a superstar salesperson?  Great salespeople often don't make great managers.
 
Voitmoie, if you have seen it dozens of times based upon the reasons you have given, I have to believe that it is a crappy sales organization.  In a quality sales organization, for a top salesman, a move into management means less money, less freedom, more headaches, less time with family, and less power.
 
Think of it this way.  Compare a basketball superstar like Magic Johnson to a non-superstar head coach like Paul Westhead.  Who has the money, freedom, and control?  When there is a problem, who gets shipped out?
 
All of the reasons for moving into management are valid, but not for sale's superstars.
 
 

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....that being said, I know of someone who just did this.  I imagine that he was just looking for a new challenge.  His foray into management, though, was a giant one.  He took over the largest (by a very wide margin) general agency of a large mutual company.  He'll still be earning millions.

voltmoie's picture
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anonymous wrote:People go from sales into management all of the time.    These tend to be people who are above average in what they do.  I'm talking, however, about superstars because MBA2FA became a sales superstar multiple times starting from scratch.
 
Why would someone like this move into management?  Why would management want to lose a superstar salesperson?  Great salespeople often don't make great managers.
 
Voitmoie, if you have seen it dozens of times based upon the reasons you have given, I have to believe that it is a crappy sales organization.  In a quality sales organization, for a top salesman, a move into management means less money, less freedom, more headaches, less time with family, and less power.
 
Think of it this way.  Compare a basketball superstar like Magic Johnson to a non-superstar head coach like Paul Westhead.  Who has the money, freedom, and control?  When there is a problem, who gets shipped out?
 
All of the reasons for moving into management are valid, but not for sale's superstars.
 
 How long have you been in this business? I'm guessing you are only looking at this from your point of view.  Rainmakers often tire of bringing the rain and just want to bring home a check.  Your blanket approach to "no sales star would ever leave sales" is silly.I understand the reasons why someone stays in sales, this is not new territory for any of us.  However many people enjoy new challenges as well not just the next deal.

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anonymous wrote:ReadyFireAim wrote:
If you build a referral based business with a company like AXA, success is almost guaranteed.  If you build a cold call practice, failure is almost guaranteed.

Does that mean I'm screwed without contacts?
 
It absolutely does not mean that.  It means that you are going to need to learn to get referrals from your cold calls.  You'll need to get the referrals BEFORE they become clients.   Otherwise, without very deep pockets you will starve before you have a chance to learn the business.
 
No deep pockets.  I'll learn to get referrals, much better than the "failure is almost guaranteed" option.

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"How long have you been in this business?"
 
Two decades
 
"I'm guessing you are only looking at this from your point of view."
 
My comments are based upon a combination of what I have seen combined with common sense.
 
"Rainmakers often tire of bringing the rain and just want to bring home a check."
 
It's common for a Rainmaker to not want to focus on making more and more money.  The solution of the top rainmakers isn't to get a much smaller management check and keep working full work weeks.  Instead,  the 10 hours of daily cold calling have been replaced by calling when they are in the mood.  The long weekend vacation has been replaced by taking off the month of June and July.  16 hour,  6 days a week work life have been replaced by  four 6 hour days.  What's amazing about this transformation is that their income often does not drop.
 
Working much less is a much simpler and more fun way to "just bring in a check" than going into management.
 
 
 
 
"Your blanket approach to "no sales star would ever leave sales" is silly."
You are drastically misquoting me on this.  Sales stars leave sales all of the time.  What I'm saying is that sales superstars usually don't take demotions to sales managers.   The Merrill Lynch superstar who is looking for a change or a new challenge doesn't take a ML management job.  He strikes out and forms his own RIA.   The hollywood superagent doesn't start managing his firm instead of being a superagent, he starts a competing agency. 
When sales superstars want a new challenge they look for ownership opportunities.  When they simply want less stress, they work less.  In a quality sales organization, it is not common for someone who has already reached superstar status to go into management.
 
It is common for young people who would become superstars to choose the management path instead.  That is very different from an established superstar."I understand the reasons why someone stays in sales, this is not new territory for any of us.  However many people enjoy new challenges as well not just the next deal."
 
People who are at the top of their professions are there because they are very driven and talented people.   These are the same traits that drive them towards ownership opportunities and not management opportunities. 
 
By the way, I don't think that any of what I'm saying holds water for sales positions where the superstars are lucky to be making 6 figures. 

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ReadyFireAim wrote:anonymous wrote:ReadyFireAim wrote:
If you build a referral based business with a company like AXA, success is almost guaranteed.  If you build a cold call practice, failure is almost guaranteed.

Does that mean I'm screwed without contacts?
 
It absolutely does not mean that.  It means that you are going to need to learn to get referrals from your cold calls.  You'll need to get the referrals BEFORE they become clients.   Otherwise, without very deep pockets you will starve before you have a chance to learn the business.
 
No deep pockets.  I'll learn to get referrals, much better than the "failure is almost guaranteed" option.
 
Don't take a job with AXA without seeing who else will hire you.  Local management means a lot, but if you are going with an insurance related broker/dealer, I have a hard time imagining AXA being better than the local branch of MassMutual, New York Life, Guardian, and Northwestern Mutual.

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anonymous wrote: 
 
"Your blanket approach to "no sales star would ever leave sales" is silly."
You are drastically misquoting me on this.  Sales stars leave sales all of the time.  What I'm saying is that sales superstars usually don't take demotions to sales managers.   The Merrill Lynch superstar who is looking for a change or a new challenge doesn't take a ML management job.  He strikes out and forms his own RIA.   The hollywood superagent doesn't start managing his firm instead of being a superagent, he starts a competing agency. 
When sales superstars want a new challenge they look for ownership opportunities.  When they simply want less stress, they work less.  In a quality sales organization, it is not common for someone who has already reached superstar status to go into management.
 
It is common for young people who would become superstars to choose the management path instead.  That is very different from an established superstar.Thank you for proving my point.  You have been in the business so long you've lost perspective into other lines of business.  If the guy was a pharma sales star he is not going to open a competing shop.  Same goes for a commercial banker, IBM sales star, GE sales star.... But wait, those are TERRIBLE sales cultures. No, those cultures are not as entrepreneurial in nature as ours.  Their drive and ambition is either money or power.   Perspective my man, you don't have it on this... and with respect to sports marketing, from what I understand most shops are set up as partnerships so damn right they want to get into management!

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I am trying to slow down the interview process with AXA, but they are very eager to blaze ahead.  I only want to go there if I have to.As to the why would a top sales performer want to get out of sales?  Mind you, I am talking about the pharma industry.So an avareage rep makes about $50k salary, $15K bonus, drives a Jeep Liberty (company car), and has to carry a heavy sample bag office to office five days a week.The average District Manager makes about $110k Base, $40-50K bonus, drives an Eddie Bauer Edition Ford Explorer (company car), caries no samples, and rides with reps 2-3 days per week (typically for 1/2 day).  I also go stock options, a fat expense account, and never once had to pay for breakfast, lunch or dinner if I didn't want to.I can't speak for all companies, but getting promoted to manager was very competitive and very difficult.  To even be considered, you had to finish a complete year in the top 10% of your sales force.  In reality, you really needed to do this at least two times.  Then they let you volunteer as a guest trainer for a year or two where you help train new sales reps.  You have to train them both at home office and in the field.  During this time, they have various members of management ride with you on sales calls to observe your sales ability.  If your numbers fall at any time during this period, you are out of the running.After all this, you will then have an opportunity to interview for a sales trainer position.  There are a few openings a year and there are usually 15-20 qualified sales reps competing for each opening.  If you get the position, you turn in your company car, give up your bonus, take a slight bump in salary and relocate your family to corporate HQ to be a trainer.You then work 80 hours a week a corporate slave for at least two years before they let you even interview for sales manager jobs.  They call this the "fishbowl" because everyone is watching you.  They make sure you can really sell, train, manage, and act under pressure.  When this time period is up, you can then compete for a sales manager job... but those are hard to come by because nobody leaves the good locations.  Oh.. did I mention that you have no real say in where you go?  They may offer you Timbuktu.  If you don't want to go, the may offer you Anchorage, Alaska.  After you refuse three locations, they quit offering.  Then you are either stuck as a corporate slave... or you quit, like many do.  I was one of the lucky ones who go promoted to a very nice tropical location (50 other people wanted the job too).As a district manager, none of my reps came even close to taking home what I did.  Also note that bonuses are typically capped in pharmaceuticals, so reps will never be able to make truly large bonuses in most companies.  They do this to deter reps from engaging in unethical behavior in order to get a sale.  Some (formerly) conservtive companies like Merck would never have their reps make more than $10k a year in bonus in fear they would cut corners.So there you have it.  Not everyone wants to be in outside sales their entire life... some have good reasons to move one... and some of them might actually be able to sell.

anonymous's picture
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Guys, thanks for pointing out how I can be wrong on this issue.

troll's picture
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anonymous wrote:Guys, thanks for pointing out how I can be wrong on this issue.
 
 
What were you wrong about?

anonymous's picture
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I'm wrong because I'm using my definition of a top salesman which is different than  the definition that is being used by MBA2FA.
 
MBA2FA's definition of a top salesperson seems be be someone making $60,000 plus.  If that is what a top salesperson makes, I can see how going into management can be a a huge promotion.
 
In my definition of "top salesperson", there has to be another zero on the end of that income.
 
 

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I define "Top salesman" in relative terms, not by the number of zeroes on the paycheck.If you have 100 sales people, the person who sells the most is the "top salesman" whether he gets paid $1 or $1,000,000 for his efforts.In pharmaceuticals, you traditionally make a trade of between security and high income.As a manager, it was nice knowing I would have a company car with free gas and a minimum paycheck of $125K just for showing up for work... even if sales sucked.  I would probably never make more than $200k and I was ok with that.  It was a nice gravy train, but all good things must end I guess....

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How much money would the top salesperson reasonably expect to earn?

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Earnings depend on a number of things...  Base salaries usually start at about $50k/year.  Depending on performance, you can get merit based raises which usually range from 2-6% each year.  Specialty reps have a higher base which usually ranges anywhere from $60-80k base per year.  Bonuses are usually based on a complex formula that nobody really understands.  There is no such thing as commissions in big pharma.  They create bonuses based on market share, market growth, territory potential, national product performance, etc.  They compile these numbers from purchased data from a market research firm that creates estimations from data obtained from pharmacies, wholesalers, managed care companies, etc.  There are problems with the data because it contains many estimations and educated guesses.For example, If I convince my doctor to write Viagra prescriptions for all his patients, he doesn't sign an order form.  He just nods his head and says, "Will do!" and I have to hope he complies.  Our intelligence gathers data from SOME insurance companies and pharmacies, so we know if people start turning in those Viagra prescriptions.  We used to run into problems with cash paying patients (not tracked by insurance) and when the doctor's office was across the street from a Walmart.  Until recently, Walmart refused to sell its pharmacy data.  We know that Walmart bought 1,000,000 Viagra pills, but have no clue where they were sold.  In these cases, the company must create complex formulas to account for this and estimate how many Rx's went through each Walmart.There are sometimes great opportunites with product launches because the companies are shooting in the dark when setting goals.  Let's say they think your territory should generate 10,000 Rx's this quarter.  If you sell 10,000 Rx's, you will get the target bonus payout of $4,000 (or whatever).  If you sold double that, you would get $8,000 in bonus.   However if the product was projected to gross $100MM in sales across the nation and only returned $50MM, they would cut your bonus in half, so you only get $4,000 even though you earned $8,000.  Your friends who were right at target would get $2,000 instead of $4,000.But here's where it really stinks... Now that you have proven that you can produce 20,000 Rx's in a quarter, your production goal for the next quarter will be at 30,000 Rx's while your slacker neighbor who brought in 10,000 Rx's will only have to grow to 12,000 Rx's to be at goal.This is just one example... comp plans change all the time.  Mainly so people can't try to game the system.  My first three years, I earned $60k, $90k, then $120k....  I'd say you usually max out in the low 100's.  Many folks I started out with 10 years ago rarely clear $100k (if ever).Top sales managers, on the other hand, make closer to $200kKeep in mind folks, that it really isn't all about money though.  The most rewarding job I ever had was as an Army Infantry Officer.  I went through stretches working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week for months on end.  I never cleared $50k the entire time.Good thing I wasn't stupid enough to hand my paycheck over to the First Command Financial Advisor like everyone else...

voltmoie's picture
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Joined: 2008-11-05

Different types of business pay sales people different rates ... top rate pharma sales people make 6 figures.  Top rate commercial bankers the same.  IBM & GE, I'd say it's similar. It is relative to each company / business. MBA2FA could be a total liar about his personal story but the general principle is sound.

Moraen's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-22

MBA2FA wrote: Earnings depend on a number of things...  Base salaries usually start at about $50k/year.  Depending on performance, you can get merit based raises which usually range from 2-6% each year.  Specialty reps have a higher base which usually ranges anywhere from $60-80k base per year.  Bonuses are usually based on a complex formula that nobody really understands.  There is no such thing as commissions in big pharma.  They create bonuses based on market share, market growth, territory potential, national product performance, etc.  They compile these numbers from purchased data from a market research firm that creates estimations from data obtained from pharmacies, wholesalers, managed care companies, etc.  There are problems with the data because it contains many estimations and educated guesses.For example, If I convince my doctor to write Viagra prescriptions for all his patients, he doesn't sign an order form.  He just nods his head and says, "Will do!" and I have to hope he complies.  Our intelligence gathers data from SOME insurance companies and pharmacies, so we know if people start turning in those Viagra prescriptions.  We used to run into problems with cash paying patients (not tracked by insurance) and when the doctor's office was across the street from a Walmart.  Until recently, Walmart refused to sell its pharmacy data.  We know that Walmart bought 1,000,000 Viagra pills, but have no clue where they were sold.  In these cases, the company must create complex formulas to account for this and estimate how many Rx's went through each Walmart.There are sometimes great opportunites with product launches because the companies are shooting in the dark when setting goals.  Let's say they think your territory should generate 10,000 Rx's this quarter.  If you sell 10,000 Rx's, you will get the target bonus payout of $4,000 (or whatever).  If you sold double that, you would get $8,000 in bonus.   However if the product was projected to gross $100MM in sales across the nation and only returned $50MM, they would cut your bonus in half, so you only get $4,000 even though you earned $8,000.  Your friends who were right at target would get $2,000 instead of $4,000.But here's where it really stinks... Now that you have proven that you can produce 20,000 Rx's in a quarter, your production goal for the next quarter will be at 30,000 Rx's while your slacker neighbor who brought in 10,000 Rx's will only have to grow to 12,000 Rx's to be at goal.This is just one example... comp plans change all the time.  Mainly so people can't try to game the system.  My first three years, I earned $60k, $90k, then $120k....  I'd say you usually max out in the low 100's.  Many folks I started out with 10 years ago rarely clear $100k (if ever).Top sales managers, on the other hand, make closer to $200kKeep in mind folks, that it really isn't all about money though.  The most rewarding job I ever had was as an Army Infantry Officer.  I went through stretches working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week for months on end.  I never cleared $50k the entire time.Good thing I wasn't stupid enough to hand my paycheck over to the First Command Financial Advisor like everyone else...
 
MBA - How long ago were you in the army?  I know 1st lieutenants making that much right now.  Or when you say clear, do you mean net?  An infantry officer in a combat zone does quite well for himself.  Even LTs.

3rdyrp2's picture
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Joined: 2008-11-13

Probably doesn't include locality pay.  My wife is in the Air Force and she gets a pretty modest salary (For her age and years in) but the tax free locality pay on top of that is close to the tax equiv. of an extra $25-30k.

MBA2FA's picture
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Joined: 2009-06-01

I can't comment on what the current pay scales are at.  I got out as an O-2 more than a decade ago.

beware's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-27

Don’t Do Business With or Work For These Criminals. Here's what I witnessed at AXA?• Numerous client complaints from unsuitable investment recommendations and poor customer service. • Reports of dishonest activities and taking advantage of customers, driven by greed with a total disregard of industry regulations. • Illegal kickbacks and ponzi schemes have been reported with charges and litigation pending against this company.• There are reports of the sales force not meeting regulatory requirements to conduct business as registered investment advisors. • Testimonials from employees and customers reveal disturbing facts about compliance violations, unethical behavior and criminal activities.

indyrep's picture
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Joined: 2011-04-21

Be VERY careful at AXA.  I was there 3 years, top producer, etc.  i left on good terms for another opportunity and they are trying to collect almost $18k in comissions.  I could understand if the policies lapsed, etc.  but they are trying to collect because i am no longer there.  the policies are still inforce.  All I am saying is be very careful about their comp plan.  there was no one in the office that truely understood it, so it was hard to get questions answered.   Muhny wrote:Greeting everyone!I'm a long-time reader, but first time poster.I've been looking into FA jobs for a little while, but no luck actually getting a job yet.  I guess it's harder than it used to be to find firms that will take you without a license.Anyway, I have been going through the interview process with AXA Advisors.  From what I hear, it's more of a life insurance job than an FA job.  They haven't revealed too much about the training or how the marketing funnel is supposed to work, but maybe I am too early in the process.So far, I have been to an orientation, and an interview with a branch VP and his "top advisor."  I took some online test that is supposed to measure my success and they have called back since... in a very excited tone.I have a million questions... really, I'm not even sure if I should call them back.  Most of the forums seem to be pretty negative about AXA.  Can anyone say anything positive?  It seems many life insurance companies don't have you take the series 7(AXA is one of the one companies that does), so isn't that a benefit? Since all the training stuff is "pre-contract," I was thinking about accepting the job (if offered) and keeping looking for something better while in "pre-contract."If I can't get a better job, I figure I'll just stay and hash it out.Oh yea.. they mentioned that they don't do traditional prospecting.  My assumption is that I have to bug all my friends to buy stuff.  Am I right?  What happens when I run out of friends?  I mean, even if I have 300 friends to call on.... they will eventually dry up if I don't do any more prospecting of any kind.Why is this sounding like Amway to me?Any thoughts? Advice?

indyrep's picture
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Joined: 2011-04-21

Be VERY careful at AXA.  I was there 3 years, top producer, etc.  i left on good terms for another opportunity and they are trying to collect almost $18k in comissions.  I could understand if the policies lapsed, etc.  but they are trying to collect because i am no longer there.  the policies are still inforce.  All I am saying is be very careful about their comp plan.  there was no one in the office that truely understood it, so it was hard to get questions answered.   Muhny wrote:Greeting everyone!I'm a long-time reader, but first time poster.I've been looking into FA jobs for a little while, but no luck actually getting a job yet.  I guess it's harder than it used to be to find firms that will take you without a license.Anyway, I have been going through the interview process with AXA Advisors.  From what I hear, it's more of a life insurance job than an FA job.  They haven't revealed too much about the training or how the marketing funnel is supposed to work, but maybe I am too early in the process.So far, I have been to an orientation, and an interview with a branch VP and his "top advisor."  I took some online test that is supposed to measure my success and they have called back since... in a very excited tone.I have a million questions... really, I'm not even sure if I should call them back.  Most of the forums seem to be pretty negative about AXA.  Can anyone say anything positive?  It seems many life insurance companies don't have you take the series 7(AXA is one of the one companies that does), so isn't that a benefit? Since all the training stuff is "pre-contract," I was thinking about accepting the job (if offered) and keeping looking for something better while in "pre-contract."If I can't get a better job, I figure I'll just stay and hash it out.Oh yea.. they mentioned that they don't do traditional prospecting.  My assumption is that I have to bug all my friends to buy stuff.  Am I right?  What happens when I run out of friends?  I mean, even if I have 300 friends to call on.... they will eventually dry up if I don't do any more prospecting of any kind.Why is this sounding like Amway to me?Any thoughts? Advice?

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