The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor
Powerful Lessons and Proven Strategies from Top Producers
Author: David J. Mullen
Pub Date: November 2009
Print Edition: $30.00
Print ISBN: 9780814414729
Page Count: 288
e-Book ISBN: 9780814414736
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I HAVE ALWAYS had an insatiable curiosity about the methods successful
people use to reach the pinnacle of their industry. I am particularly
interested in the financial services field, because this is where
I have made my career.When I started in the business back in 1980,
my goal was to create my own million-dollar practice, but I had
absolutely no idea how to do it. I read all the literature at the time
about how to be successful, but there didn’t seem to be any blueprint
for me to follow. Even though I was motivated to succeed, I knew
that the odds were against me: Only one percent of those who start
in this business ever reach the million-dollar business level.
So began the long, challenging journey toward my goal. I spent
the first six years of my career as a financial advisor, starting in
1980 with a large, national financial services firm in my hometown
of Athens, Georgia. I was 25 years old and had absolutely no idea
how to build a financial services practice. I didn’t know anyone
who had more than $20,000 to invest and had never sold an intangible
product before. I was as green as they get, but I did have a
high level of motivation to succeed. I soon recognized this business
was much more difficult than I had expected and that I was in
for the biggest challenge of my life. Through hard work, perseverance,
and a little luck, I began building my business, growing it
bigger every year.
While developing my practice, I realized that I wanted to help
others thrive as well. I was given my first opportunity to help other
financial advisors back in 1984, when I was promoted to the level of
producing manager in a large, national financial services firm in
Atlanta. I took my best accounts with me and threw myself at the
challenge. I was in charge of motivating a group of unsuspecting
financial advisors. What I lacked in managerial experience I made
up for in energy and enthusiasm. I began to teach the lessons that I
had learned to those reporting to me, to great results. In just two
years that office cumulatively grew by almost 30 percent.
Then, in 1986, I passed the firm’s assessment for managers, and
my dream of having a full-time career helping other financial advisors
came true. Over the next 20 years I had managerial responsibilities
in Denver, Newport Beach, Minneapolis, New York City,
and Atlanta. In every location I was sent I saw the same thing: I realized
that there was much to be learned, but saw how little was
shared. So I started to collect and refine a set of best business practices
for this industry. These lessons are featured in my first book,
The Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice, which provides the fundamentals
to guide any financial advisor to a million-dollar business,
no matter where you are in your financial services career.
Learning from the Masters
If my first book is the equivalent of a college degree in financial services,
then this new one is the graduate course. The first book was
designed to be a tactical blueprint for success, but the next step was
to focus on the proven lessons that could be learned from many of
the top advisors in the industry. The combination of these two books
should provide instruction as well as the motivation needed to help
you reach your goals. These lessons can be incorporated at any stage
of your financial career; in fact, the earlier they are understood and
followed, the better.
During my 20-year management career, I was privileged to meet
some of the very best and brightest in the financial services industry.
In fact, I recruited, hired, and eventually worked with more than
100 individuals who were “million plus” financial advisors. Through
this experience I was able observe the best practices of these top
financial advisors and compare them to the best practices I had
developed. I was surprised to see how much more I still had to learn.
Then I realized the challenge most advisors face: They simply don’t
have access to individuals they can learn from. There is little flow of
information downward because top advisors are extremely focused
on their own practices.
However, I was able to interview 15 professionals who have personally
exemplified what it takes to be at the very top. Through my
personal and professional relationships with them, I was able to
observe and interview them, asking them the questions that I know
you would want to ask on exactly how they were able to become so
successful. I had also worked directly with most of these advisors for
years and was able to watch them, in many instances, practicing
these lessons “live.” The combination of the interviews, my personal
interactions with these professionals, and my knowledge and experience
is what separates this book from all others.
The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor provides a rare glimpse into
the best practices that make these top producers so successful. All of
the information in this book was acquired through in-depth interviews
and, in many cases, years of observations while working with
these top advisors. I am confident that this wealth of information
makes this book unique.
Each of these top advisors’ achievements went beyond a milliondollar
practice. In all cases these exceptional men and women became
successful “the old-fashion way.” No one handed them a book of business
or gave them special treatment: They all started at the bottom
and built their multimillion-dollar businesses from scratch. In all cases
they started with nothing. With no related experience, they made the
same mistakes all rookies make; they had to reinvent the wheel. In
each case, however, their motivation, determination, goal focus, and
hard work carried them through each obstacle that they faced to get
to the next level. My purpose was to discover the principles of success
that they all had in common and translate that into “lessons” for readers
to take their business to the next level.
You now have access to these top advisors. All of them have shared
their insights graciously and openly. You will learn from their mistakes
as well as their successes. And while it does not guarantee a multimilliondollar
practice, it can certainly raise your level of productivity. For
example, I would often send the advisors in the offices that I managed
to visit with higher producers in the same company, and I was always
pleased by the significant lift in returns that would result.
The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor was written for financial
advisors who want to take their business practice to the next level.
The information I obtained from my extensive interviews has been
organized into 13 distinct lessons that these top advisors followed.
The guidelines should be used as a checklist to compare yourself
with the best in the business. In some cases the lessons should be
a confirmation of what you are currently doing right; in other
cases, they will identify a gap in your business practice that needs
to be developed. What’s more, this book provides the specific steps
that you can take in order to implement the lessons.
The careers of our top advisors have spanned from 7 to 40 years.
They have thrived during bull markets and survived during the bear
markets. Their lessons have withstood the test of time and are applicable
in any market environment. As we’ve seen from recent economic
events, markets have and always will change, but the lessons from these
top advisors stay the same. The lessons from these top advisors will
guide you to the top, too, no matter the current market conditions.
I have also included two complete case studies that are of particular
interest. First, you will meet Taylor Glover, whom I consider to
be the most successful financial advisor I have ever met. From my
interview with him, you will learn how the “best of the best” built his
business and how he advanced from a newly minted advisor to the
No. 1 producer in his firm. This case study also illustrates how all of
the lessons work together and what the results can be.
A second study illustrates a unique financial advisor who has
turned his career around. Henry Camp teaches us the value of hard
work and incredible perseverance and should serve as an inspiration
to anyone who desires to become a multimillion-dollar financial
advisor, no matter what career stage he or she is in.
The final chapter offers a specific challenge: to use these lessons
and drive your practice to financial success. By implementing these
lessons, you will understand how to significantly increase your
assets and your business. The Asset Challenge serves as an example
of what the implementation of the lessons from the top can produce.
Some advisors will exceed the goal and others may not reach
it, but those advisors that follow the tactical strategies outlined in
this chapter on a consistent basis will take their business practice to
the next and higher level.
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