Every investor dreams of getting in on the next Microsoft on the ground floor -- just before it's taken off. And every brokerage firm is looking for recruits possessing the right ingredients to make it all the way to the top. I feel I can venture a prediction as to just such a broker. Meet Jonathan Israel, an Edward Jones newbie in Studio City, Calif. ("Portrait of a Rookie"). The guy is only 23, yet he is brimming with wit and wisdom beyond his years. Though he just started selling in January, by March he had taken over an existing branch and by June he was profitable enough to hire an assistant -- a particularly astute and courageous move for a freshly minted financial advisor.
A few choice quotes signal a clear upward trajectory for this young advisor:
"My biggest success so far -- though this sounds really simple -- is doing what I say I'm going to do. If I tell someone I'll get back to them tomorrow, I'll get back to them tomorrow." Jonathan understands, as anyone in business must, the imperative of being known for keeping your word.
"Whether or not they give you all their money isn't something I can control. I have to focus on things I can control: how many people I meet every day or how many doors I've knocked on. So I always try to go out and see as many people as I can. If I do that, then I'm successful that day." Jonathan understands, as anyone in sales must, the importance of not getting too emotionally caught up in each prospect; rather, overall results follow overall effort.
"I don't dwell on [rejection]. You have to learn to brush it off. I think about something good that's happened. I sing a song, enjoy the day outdoors." Jonathan understands the power of staying positive.
"My long-term goal is to take care of the long-term goals of my clients." Jonathan understands that no matter what anyone tells you, this is not a transactional business; only a long-term client-centered approach will bring success.
I will resist more excerpts from the quotable Mr. Israel. But I think it useful for all advisors to reacquaint themselves with these basic principles. They may sound simple, but in fact they can be extremely difficult to put into practice because ultimately they are all about self-mastery. As a former branch manager at Pru, I've seen brokers lose some of these battles with themselves.
The lesson Jonathan Israel comes to remind us of is that the ingredients of success and failure are deeply rooted in your own character. If you work hard in your personal as well as business life to always be true to your word; to give your best effort; to keep a positive attitude; and to be genuinely concerned with others -- you'll go far. I'd like to check in again next year with another article about this promising young rookie. I'd say his stock is going to rise high.