When Recruiting Financial Advisors

Recruiting, like sales, is a long-term process. It does not produce immediate results.

As such, you should not focus on a particular day or time period, but rather on developing systems to get a steady flow of potential recruits into the agency. Unfortunately, there is no ready supply of quality agents waiting outside agencies.

In the search for quality producers, managers can take the following steps to simplify the process.

Be patient and persistent. It may take years for a manager to recruit an agent because quality agents usually are not ready for a career or agency change at the time you approach them. So, youve got to have a strong follow-up system. Even in todays computerized environment, tickler files work well.

Be resourceful and keep your eyes open. Youll also need several sources to keep the pipeline filled with potential recruits. Youll need to develop a clear profile of ideal candidates and then set out to find them.

There is an old saying: “If you want to catch an alligator, you go where the alligators are.” So, a great way to find prospects is to go places where they get together; industry association meetings and conferences are good places to start.

You should also take advantage of word-of-mouth referrals from other agents and personal observation. If you see someone who may have what it takes to succeed, strike up a conversation. Some of the most successful financial advisors come from an unrelated background but have the drive and desire to succeed.

In-house recruiters add value. I successfully have used an in-house recruiter for several years. Hire experienced telemarketers and train them to make recruiting calls, positioning them as independent recruiters working with your firm to help expand your operation. Compared to professional head-hunters, this is very cost-effective and keeps a steady flow of potential agents coming through the door.

Independence sells. Understand what agents want and meet their needs. After witnessing a 50% decline in career agent recruiting and sharp increases in independent agents, we adjusted our recruiting efforts.

Sell the idea of ownership. Help the agents understand that they will work for themselves and will own their practice (including renewals and future compensation), clientele, time and ideas. Ownership brings power of growth.

Whether you are an agent, manager or general agent, you never grow until you own. I believe that independence and ownership should be the central themes of all recruiting and training processes. The ideal candidate is one who is both independent and responsible.

Expand your boundaries. America has long been known as the “melting pot.” Today, more than ever, its important to remember that the face of America is changing. To be effective, you must expand your boundaries to include candidates who are marketing to members of different ethnic backgrounds.

My agency has been successful with two multicultural markets: the Asian-American market and the African-American market. Perhaps the hottest growth market is the Asian market, which includes four major groups: Chinese; South Asian (mainly from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh); Korean; and Filipino.

Asian-Americans, who number 12 million, are the third largest minority in the U.S. The group is estimated to total 5% of the U.S. population by 2010. Asian-Americans are also better educated and more affluent than other demographic markets.

Currently, 44% of Asian-Americans hold bachelors degrees, as compared to 24% of the general population; 22% have household incomes over $100,000. They need both protection and accumulation products, but will rely on advisors since, in spite of their high levels of education and fluency in English, they are generally not familiar with these products.

Based on studies, this market segment prefers to do business with someone of a similar ethnic background: someone who speaks the same language and is from the same or similar culture.

Thus, to effectively reach this growing market, you need to recruit agents of Asian descent. Once recruited, youll have a steady flow of referrals from your existing agents because Asian-American advisors actively seek agencies that seriously cater to these markets.

It’s not easy, but it’s rewarding. If youre interested in growing your business and trying to recruit quality agents, develop a long range plan and set it into motion. Your success wont come overnight. But when it does, your efforts will be rewarded.

Riaz A. Khokhar, LUTCF, is managing director of Northeast Planning Group. You can e-mail him at riazakhokhar@aol.com.

To be effective, recruiters must expand their boundaries to include candidates who are marketing to members of different ethnic backgrounds, such as Asian-Americans.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, March 10, 2005. Copyright 2005 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.