Painful as it may be, consider it a courtship process and treat it as such. Check your ego at the door and be sure to not move too fast. You just may end up with a happier clientele and better paycheck in the process.
Oh, there's nothing like a good first impression. Let's first agree that we all have busy lives. Or at least I hope so. With families, clients and hobbies come numerous obligations, a full calendar and a lot of priority setting. Managers juggle just as many meetings, if not more than advisors do. Not only are there constant meetings, whether by phone or in person to the cooperate offices, there's the general staff meetings, individual meetings and of course recruit meetings. Being the full-time conduit between the sales force and the home office is a large time commitment.
As a recruiter that deals with different managers day in and out, I know all too well that the good ones are usually booked for weeks on end for lunches, breakfasts and after-market recruiting meetings.
Yet, when setting up a meeting to meet with a new candidate I rarely get a cancellation. Why? Well, it comes back to the rule of first impressions. There's no time like the first meeting to make a good first impression.
The managers tend to realize how important it is to make the advisor they are meeting feel wanted and that they are a priority to the prospective firm.
However, the advisor cancellation rate on first meetings is quite high. Nearly 35% have 'something pop up', an 'emergency', a 'last minute client meeting' or 'just forgot.' I've got news for the serial no-shows though: The street and number of people who are on it is getting smaller. Do it enough times and people consider you a disrespectful tire kicker who isn't worthy of their time.
One of my recruiters recently approached a manager about a team in the greater New York City area. The manager wouldn't get back to her about prospective dates for quite some time. That team generates around $1.8 million in commissions with $160 million in assets. As is turns out, the team had scheduled at least five different meetings with this same manager in the last few years and never showed up. "I'm not sure I'm willing to look past all the no shows at this point," the manager said. "Seriously, I have about 60 recruits in my pipeline right now who actually have a genuine interest in this firm and my offices. Why on earth would I block out yet another slot for people that just don't show?"
I happen to totally agree with the manager. I make a point to have any recruit I represent who pulls a cancellation make a call directly and explain her reasoning. This way the manager can tell it's a true story and they don't feel slighted. Because once one feels slighted then the cancellation game begins and nobody wins. The cancellation game is when both repeatedly try and one up the other by cancelling. It's totally childish and should be avoided at all costs.
The second common recruiting mistake is coming across to the hiring firm as being "all about the money." Most of the firms that I deal with will walk away happily if you give this impression. It certainly behooves you to be knowledgeable about what deals are out there and what firms are offering the top deals. Yet, if you care about nobody but yourself during such a vast transaction, chances are you aren't putting your clients first. This is unacceptable. That's what gives Wall Street a bad name, and reputable firms tend not to want to be around it. Time and time again, my firm has advisors wanting to take a look at a formal deal without the firm doing a thorough due diligence on them, and it just doesn't work that way. While a manager would love to hand over a huge check without 50 meetings and 100 pages of paperwork, he can't.
Switching firms really isn't all about the money, like some may think. Switching has to make sense to your clients, your business, your family and yourself. The money will follow. The money-focused advisors tend to rush the process. Where most firms would just love you join them today or tomorrow, chances are the process is around three to six months out. Firms and managers raise a red flag when someone wants to leave within two or three weeks for no particular reason.