That awkward-looking boy from elementary school who once gave me a cereal box charm, looks quite different these days. As times changed, so did he. And trust me, he didn't look quite so awkward anymore!
The same ideology holds true in the world of brokerage. Times change, and so do people and companies. I run into so many advisors and managers who have preconceived notions about the competition as they knew it. They are just not willing to look at something they may have once considered their "awkward-looking boy."
But, the advisors and managers who are willing to take that second look are the ones likely to end up ahead of the pack.
Tom and That Firm
I received a call a few weeks ago from an advisor that I have known for years. "Tom" heads up a large team in California. They are north of $3 million in production and over $300 million in assets.
Tom had envisioned a cumulative 300%-plus deal and wanted to see what was out there. But he had a problem, which he summed up like this:
"We have been at half the firms out there and I don't have an interest in them, except for that 'newbie' [firm]. And we definitely aren't interested in that other firm."
Tom had interviewed that firm a few years prior. Things were a disaster then; the branch manager was new to the marketplace and, at that time, perhaps didn't display the longevity and stability that Tom and his team was seeking.
From his point of view, Tom believed that while the new firm could be attractive to his clients, it probably wasn't the best fit for him and his team at the time.
After some convincing, however, Tom took a second look at the company he had placed on the back burner some time ago, and realized that the company was-in all aspects-leaps and bounds ahead of the 'newbie' firm. Surprisingly, the same branch manager was there, now more impressive than ever.
Today, Tom is very happy that he kept an open mind and revisited a firm he had originally dismissed. When there's more than $9 million at stake, I would too.
Dan Takes a Second Look
In another scenario, Dan -- an advisor I've been working with for the past year or so -- wanted to make a move. Dan was situated at one of the few boutique firms left. He produced around $1.7 million, with around $200 million in assets.
But now, after 15 years at the same firm, Dan started entertaining the thought of working with a wirehouse.
When Dan first met with the branch manager a few months back it didn't go well. The branch manager neglected to read the notes given to him describing Dan's motivations and his business. Hence, Dan walked away feeling unimpressed and certainly not motivated.
In the fall, I met with Dan again. But his entire outlook had changed-and for the better. It was now quite positive. His motivation for leaving the boutique firm was no longer financial.
Dan was on the edge of his seat to hear about that same wirehouse's new marketing initiative. "I really want to do well by my clients. Then be able to handpick the person that takes over the book when I retire," I remember him saying. "And getting paid twice to do all this is great also!"
While Dan's motivation changed a bit during this period, the regional manager of the wirehouse came around as well. The firm has gone from suggesting a particular branch manager, to meeting with Dan first. This way, the management gets first-hand knowledge of Dan's business and how he runs it. As a result, the regional manager will be able help Dan decide which office is right for him. I have no doubt that this second time around, Dan will find an appreciative office that will do right by his clients, his family and him. And he'll get paid really well to do it.
The $4 Million Team
One of my recruiters, Jane O'Harrow, has been working with a team that produces approximately $4 million. They initially looked at a wirehouse a few years back, but they just didn't like the branch manager.
The manager -- once a 'not so successful broker' -- had taken over some pretty large offices through the years. Instead of building loyalty amongst his ranks, he just developed an attitude. Definitely not a good fit!