One of the downsides of choosing to work in the financial services field is that many of the jobs are commissioned based. Even the ones that start salary, eventually decline that salary as the potential employee is supposed to gain clientele and then live off the corresponding fees from assets under management. The problem I had with many of the models was what is expected of new employees.
Let me start by saying I believe I know more about insurance and investments than the average person off the street, but I am far from an expert. I also knew going into this business, as much preaching goes on about helping people, that ultimately this is a sales transaction. I do believe that I am trying to help people, but If I can’t sell my products and services I ultimately don’t eat.
So as I was conducting interviews, fully knowing that this is ultimately a sales job, I was appalled with one of the offers. I was asked to, more or less, go and prospect for clients. It was sold to me as a way to find out public perception of the financial services industry. One of the last questions posed on the pre-approved prospecting script was about meeting with a representative of the potential company. That last question was the deal breaker for me. Not only was I expected to approach people about financial services without knowing anything beyond internet searches, I was expected to attract potential clients that wouldn’t ultimately be mine since I wasn’t approved by the company yet.
All of the companies I interviewed wanted me to start with insurance licensing, which is where I am at now. It is quicker and easier to obtain than the series 6, which I hope to get done soon. Getting my in insurance license will allow me to start attracting clients through the life insurance market. The company I chose to start working for at least paid for the licensing requirements and provided me with other education material before I was expected to start prospecting.
In the grand scheme of things, their investment is small, but at least it is an investment. They at least have some skin involved in my failure or success. Right now my investment is limited, a little financial, a lot of time, and a bunch of opportunity cost. However, in a couple weeks my financial stability of a salaried paycheck will be ending, and then I will have a lot of skin in the game.
Part of the reason I pursued this career is to stay in an industry that allows me to have some sort of relationship with people. I am terrified that in a couple weeks I will have too much skin in the game, and will just become another pushy salesman. I don’t need many clients to make this work, I just need to build a steady stream for a few years.
All I have right now is about two weeks of official experience and a bunch of hope.