How Was Your Advisor Trained?

There are two ways to build a wealth management firm. One is based on a sales culture, with some supporting training for the actual financial knowledge. The other is based on learning the business and financial knowledge from the ground up, with no expectations for sales in the first few years.

It still surprises me that many large financial firms start new hires with intensive sales training and then trust them to bring in clients with their limited financial knowledge. I know this went on ten years ago, but I still hear of new advisors who go off to sales training today. These are big, well known financial companies. I’m not going to name names because it will be easier to get this post through compliance without it.

When these new sales trainees are released into the wild, most of their compensation is based on the business they bring in. Some are even still cold calling to get clients. How does that work? “Hello. I just got out of sales school and trust everything my firm tells me to sell. Will you invest with me?”

Clearly I don’t have a natural sales bone in my body because I don’t understand it. My firm takes a radically different approach. We bring in new hires and teach them everything they need to know about customer service, investments, tax, estate planning, etc. There are literally no sales expectations in the first few years. How does our business grow? When clients figure out you have given them solid advice for a number of years, they share how happy they are with their friends and family. Our new hires start to wow the firm’s clients with their work and get their own referrals.

So…how was your advisor trained?

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