Partners in Prospecting

Help! I Need Somebody: Three Key Traits in an Exceptional Sales Assistant

October 7, 2020

The Balance Careers website defines a Registered Broker’s Sales Assistant’s duties as “A broker sales assistant helps financial advisors, traditionally referred to as brokers, with time management by handling routine client inquiries. Most questions are related to account maintenance matters, allowing financial advisors to devote more time to their value-added activity, providing investment advice.”

If the above definition of a Sales Assistant’s role is all you are looking for, then you may inadvertently be putting limits on what they can do for you and your business.

I’ve worked with several exceptional Advisors whose top three Practice Management Challenges are:

  • Improving practice profitability,
  • Managing existing clients, and
  • Work/life balance.

Exceptional Advisors hire support staff with these challenges in mind.

So how can you ensure you hire the right Sales Assistant to help you? Whether you are hiring a new Sales Assistant or training an existing one – this is a vital question.

Here are the three most valuable traits to look for when hiring an exceptional Sales Assistant:

1.    Ability to make outbound calls

With all of our technology constantly evolving, some say that making outbound phone calls is a dying art, and I totally disagree. There is still no better way to make and keep strong connections than in-person meetings, virtual meetings or phone calls. In addition to seeking out new clients, outbound calls for Sales Assistants could include obtaining testimonials and referrals from existing clients, following up on prospects that have gone cold, or using prospecting scripts for business professional and business owners. Make sure to check with your compliance team if you require pre-approval or any kind of licensing to engage in your prospecting efforts. Whatever the reason for outbound calls, it is important to ensure that your new team member will not shy away from using the phone. The younger generation clearly prefers “texting” to talking so this may not be as easy as you think. However, you may be able to narrow down your list of prospective employees if there is any inclination that they are hesitant using the phone. Ask the applicant directly: “What is your experience and/or comfort level dealing with people you don’t know on the phone?” Or just call them on the phone and see how they respond.

You may even want to give them homework (if they make your short list) and have them create a script for cold calling business owners. By including your Sales Assistant in key practice profitability tasks, such as outbound prospecting calls, you will have taken steps to expand your outreach considerably.

2.    Ability to act as a gatekeeper

Inbound calls are just as important as outbound calls and a skilled gatekeeper plays a key role in screening calls. Exceptional Advisors know that although they’d love to be able to speak with all of their clients regularly, the reality is that they don’t have enough hours in the day. The Sales Assistant steps in by developing deep relationships with existing clients so when these clients have an issue or routine question, they feel comfortable speaking with or e-mailing the Sales Assistant. Managing existing clients effectively takes team work and exceptional Advisors recognize this.

3.    Tech savvy or marketing background

As an Advisor, it is important to know the competitive landscape you are competing in and an exceptional Sales Assistant can help you with that navigation. The average business consumer is bombarded by thousands of messages a day. It is crucial to design marketing communication programs, which coordinate all promotional activities in order to provide a clear and consistent message from all mediums (e.g. social media, marketing materials and your website). In order to achieve the various objectives for the year, your Sales Assistant should concentrate on four key areas:

  • A streamlined outbound call process,
  • Enhancing web presence,
  • Integrating social media, and
  • E-mail campaigns through a Contact Management System (“CRM”).

Needless to say, this is all subject to the compliance rules and company’s policies on the use of social media and may require pre-approval. All your e-mail campaigns should also adhere to CASL and privacy rules.

These aren’t the only traits you would look for in a Sales Assistant. Enthusiasm, willingness (if not already licensed) to become licensed, and an eye for detail in preparing paper work are a few more to consider. If your Sales Assistant possesses an ability to make outbound calls, is an exceptional gatekeeper and is internet/marketing savvy, then you can concentrate on your own top three challenges – practice profitability, managing your existing clients, and achieving a work/life balance.

As usual: There is a song title in this blog post. Did you find it?

About Jennifer Kuta

For more than 25 years, I have worked with Advisors helping them build their businesses. My commitment to you is to partner with you in your practice and offer solutions to help build your business.

The contents of this blog are the personal views of the author and not necessarily the views of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. The contents are provided as general in nature and should not be relied upon nor construed to be the rendering of advice. Readers should consult with their own compliance/legal advisors for advice on their specific circumstances before taking any action as sales and prospecting activities are subject to regulatory oversight.

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Vice President, Business Development and Sales

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