By Rick Rummage
October 1, 2011
Why did you get into the brokerage business? Was it because you loved the idea of helping individuals secure a sound financial future? Was it to make a lot of money? Was it by accident or a well researched plan? Have you ever wondered why you are not doing better? Or maybe you're doing just fine financially, but for some reason you're still not that happy in the profession. Maybe your book of business is growing at a much slower rate than you would like.
There is most likely a good reason for all these things. The real question for you is this: What will you do about it.
Most individuals go through life without slowing down enough to do some self-discovery. If you are entirely happy with your career and income, you are one of the lucky few. Most individuals are not entirely happy, but aren't sure why. They feel they should be doing better. But how?
I have found that very few individuals do the kind of research that is required to get into the right career in the first place-one that is right for their personality type and psychological makeup.
Many of the individuals who I have worked with over the years got into the brokerage business for the wrong reasons. That is, they really did not understand what true success in the career entailed.
Looking at my own life, when I was 17 I knew what I wanted to do. Upon seeing the movie "Wall Street," I wanted to be a stock broker. A year later, at the ripe old age of 18, I was a licensed stockbroker.
I won't bore you with the long details, but my point is I knew what I wanted when I was a teenager. I did not even go to college until I knew what I wanted to do upon graduation. Life is too short to go through it like a pinball, reacting instead of being proactive.
However, I find most individuals are like the pinball, having their fates determined by random events instead of a focused plan.
To be sure, being a financial advisor is not for everyone. It's a career that changes over time. You cannot be a financial advisor until you have clients, and you cannot have clients unless you can sell.
But the skills that make a great salesperson are, for the most part, opposite of what makes a great financial advisor.
As a younger financial advisor, you might spend all of your time trying to obtain new clients. And later in your career you will spend more of your time trying to service the ones that you have.
So as the career changes slowly over time, the skills required for success change as well. But it is not enough to just have the skills, it is also very important to have the interest. Otherwise you will not be happy.
There is a 90% failure rate in this business. It depends on what model and firm you start at, but overall only 10% make it. Why is there such a high failure rate? Is it really that hard? It is, but for some it is much harder than for others.
This is because many individuals get into the business wanting to be a financial advisor, but not a salesperson. If only we could just hand them a book, they would do a great job of consulting with clients and putting together financial plans. Of course, it does not and should not work this way. To be successful in the business, you have to be a salesperson-an extraverted, networking, high-energy, competitive person.
The person you are today in all likelihood won't change over the course of your life. Sure, there are some exceptions to every rule, but 99% of people won't change very much. You may become healthier from a psychological standpoint. And you may well become more humble and see the world through wiser eyes as you age. But even so, your basic personality type will not likely change.
I have talked about the Enneagram in previous articles. This is a study of personality types that says there are nine personality types in the world. (You can take a free personality test online at www.theenneagraminstitute. com.) There are clearly some types that would do better in some professions than others.
That said, the Enneagram does not state that any one type should be excluded from any one profession. With enough determination, anyone can do anything, however it will be more of a challenge for some in certain professions.
For example, a type-five would most likely struggle obtaining new clients as a financial advisor, but would do great with the financial planning piece. A type-seven would do great obtaining clients, but would most likely get bored with the planning side.
Type-fours would most likely have little interest in either side of the business. (Within each type you can also be healthy, average or unhealthy, which has a significant impact on who you are and what you do).
So if you have wondered why your success as a financial advisor has not been greater, or felt your happiness could improve, maybe you need to do some self-discovery.
If you are great at doing the planning part of the business but terrible at the sales and marketing piece, maybe you need to learn who you really are.
If your growth rate has been very low, or you have been struggling in the business for several years, I would suggest you do something to change your future-maybe this simply is not the business for you.
This business is too hard to just get by. Maybe you would be better suited in a role that helps people but involves no sales. We have all heard about the definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."
My question is, are you happy? Or insane? Or a little of each?
Rick Rummage is the founder and CEO of The Rummage Group. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org