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Roadmap to Success

This new book advocates a systematic approach to building your practice.

By Julie Britt

Brady Fineske, a mentor for new agents and interns at Savage and Associates in Toledo, Ohio, recently published a book that he says is shortening the learning curve for financial advisors.

“My goal in developing this was to create a guide for new agents that would create a clearer path in taking them from the pains of starting to the pleasures of lasting in our business. Most young agents are not given that path, or if they are, it is not clear,” says Fineske, author of All You Have to Do Is Last: How to Survive in the Financial Services Industry.

The book’s companion website offers opportunities to create or subscribe to email newsletters, download forms and lists featured in the book, get some motivational ideas, email questions or comments and interact with other new agents. It also provides marketing ideas and presentation materials such as spreadsheets and slideshows.

Focus on marketing
Marketing and prospecting “can make or break an agent in our business and can ultimately determine the speed (and consistency) at which their career moves forward,” Fineske states on his website in an introduction to Chapter 7.
“I have observed that most financial-service professionals use marketing like a defibrillator or as part of a last-ditch effort when they really need it,” he says.

To develop an in-depth marketing system, you should begin by identifying the groups of people and demographics you will target, according to Fineske. Next, determine how you will contact these groups and whether you can delegate some of the related tasks. Finally, list your income goals and the tasks that will be required to meet those goals.

Here are some additional recommendations from All You Have to Do Is Last:

Self reflection: Are you right for the business?
Take a moment to evaluate your reputation by looking at your past to understand how your actions shaped the way in which you are viewed by the people on your [call] list and others you have come in contact with.

Create your database.
As a new advisor, you should create a list of the names of at least 250 people and 20 business owners to call. Also, you should complete all of the exams and credentials tests your industry or company requires.

Be your first client.
Evaluate your own financial needs and develop a plan that includes the products you are trying to sell so you can set an example for your prospects and clients.

Interview five agents to get a story.
Prepare stories, from your own experience or from a colleague’s experience, about a sale that had a profound impact on a client’s life and use the stories to convince prospects of the need to address their financial needs.

Create a business tracking system.
It is important to be aware of where you are in terms of the progress you are making toward achieving your numbers or goals. Being organized will help keep you focused.

Run your practice like a business.
Part of running a business is considering the overhead and tracking expenses incurred throughout the year so you can deduct those expenses from your income.

Develop a workable list of goals.
Realize that that while goals need to be challenging, they must also be attainable. You should tie your list of goals to daily and weekly activities that you can link to your marketing system, working backward from your income-related goals to the tasks required to reach them.

Send out your announcement/introduction/lead letter.
Send a letter to the people on your call list letting them know the services you provide. Tell them you will call them to set up a meeting, and include extra business cards for them to give to their friends.

Set your schedule.
By setting a schedule for the various things to do, you begin to create a system that allows for all tasks to be completed. Most importantly, when first starting this process, remember to schedule time for calls, marketing and paperwork. If you skip this task and assume you will find the time, you won’t.

For more information about this book, go to



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