And there is currently less competition to become a broker than other occupations. Careerbuilder.com counts 1.03 job seekers for every open FA position compared to 9.22 applicants for every retail opening and 10.03 for every position as a firefighter.
“In the wake of the recession, people are looking for guidance on how to build financial security after depleting short-term savings, tapping into retirement funds and losing home equity,’’ says Jennifer Grasz of Careerbuilder.com. “We see more demand for financial advisors.”
The numbers may add up for a career dispensing investment advice, but what looks good on paper can turn out to a much bigger challenge. Consider that about two-thirds to three-quarters of candidates entering FA training programs are out of the business within five years.
“It’s a tough business" to get into, says Kevin Alm, a partner responsible for branch training at Edward Jones, which develops financial advisors from the ground up rather than poaching top producing brokers from other firms.
Before you sign up for an FA training program, consider whether you have what it takes to survive in sales. Here are the qualities industry veterans say are essential to making it as a financial advisor.
You’ll need strong investment knowledge to pass the Series 7 examand gain your license to sell securities, but what you know is not nearly as important as who you know and how you communicate with them.
A Sales Mentality
Al Pacino’s character in Glengarry Glen Rosswasn’t lying: It’s all about the leads. The first three to five years of a brokerage career is a numbers game. Every training program stresses making contacts, turning them into leads or prospects and then closing them as clients.
This means making 300 cold calls per day and hoping one in 20 results in someone even picking up the phone. You can also choose to knock on doors, which Edward Jones stresses, in residential areas or small business districts with the goal of making 25 to 30 new contacts per day.