Careers 101 The Stockbroker

This is for those who love the market and are thinking it would be great to gamble with other peoples money. Or something like that.

The Stockbroker/Financial Advisor
Since I left the financial services industry I have often wondered about the new blood coming into the industry and how they must be faring. This has always been a tough industry to excel in, and I think it is tougher now, more than ever.
So, if you love the market and have ever thought about becoming an FA (Financial Advisor), listen up. I am going to paint a clear, honest, and realistic picture of life as a stockbroker. For those of you who have no thoughts of becoming a stockbroker, it still may interest you to know what your stock guy does for a living.
For starters, let me just say that this is not a 9-5 job, and if you keeps those hours you will surely be replaced by the guy who is willing to put in a 14 hour day. Before we get into training let’s take a look at a typical day for a financial advisor.
Since the market, on west coast time, opens at 6:30 in the morning, that is the latest time you can start your day. A dedicated individual with the drive to succeed will find himself at his desk between 5 and 6 in the morning. That hour to an hour and a half is a great quiet time to absorb the news flashes from markets around the world which gives us here an idea as to how our market will open and perform. These first few hours are a great time to just collect news from everywhere so you can begin to form an idea on how the day may go.
If there is anyone out there who is a fan of Mark Haines and crew, your CNBC watching is about to pay off in spades. For at least the first four years I was in business, I was glued to CNBC all day long, and that show taught me my job.
In the wee hours before the open it is a good time to do a little stock picking in advance before your traders start calling for ideas on a trade. ‘Investors’ are not even going to be awake yet. Since I was licensed in every state and outside the US I would sometimes begin calling at six in the morning.
If you are going to succeed in the industry you have to learn to enjoy cold calls. I’ll tell you right now, if you hate’em you will not survive. I’m not saying it has to be tops on your list for fun things to do, but if you don’t become a successful cold caller it just will not work for you in the industry.
Maybe you have had previous sales experience. If so you may already know that cold calling is a numbers game, and without a doubt, even the poorest caller in the world will eventually get new clients. It’s that simple. You will learn how many dials it takes to get enough people on the phone that are interested in talking. And if you get enough people willing to listen eventually you will get sales. That’s the way it worked years ago and that’s the way it works today.
Try to think of cold calling this way. Each time you pick up the phone, you may be putting two grand into your pocket. Wouldn’t it be great to make a call and get two grand. You will if you call enough. I took my calling to the extreme. My philosophy was, I am going to call you until you buy from me or hate me; that is how many times I will call you. When I really wanted a client I would call them every fifteen to twenty minutes till they picked up the phone.
After the market closes you can work on proposals, set up appointments, and read info on new products that seem to accumulate on your desk from out of thick air. That is pretty much what occupies my time from 1pm west coast time till I left the office anywhere from 6 to 8 at night. You may have sales meetings, product meetings with wholesalers, etc…
After the close it is always fun to count and recount the commissions I had made for the day, as well as make a follow up plan to call once again the ones that got away. Whenever I made a sales call to one of my clients I would first calculate the commission I would be getting if the client says yes. When you are looking at a commission of six thousand dollars, it’s a great motivating tool to get you, number one, on the phone, and number two, selling the heck out of the guy on the other end of the line.
In the next installment we will go over in detail how stockbrokers are paid, and what kind of training you receive. We will also cover the A word; arbitration.
Good Luck and Happy Reading.

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