How I Started a Financial Services Brokerage For Less Than $500 – Then Made Millions

The first time I was ever introduced to the finance world was when I watched The Thomas Crown Affair.

If you’ve never seen it, it’s a story about a “finance geek” who had built an empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and was so bored from getting his way all the time that he decided to steal an expensive painting.

Definitely worth a watch.

I immediately fell in love with the lavish lifestyle that he lived in that movie. He had the gorgeous mansion in Manhattan, he owned a massive skyscraper, personal driver/butler… the works.

And I knew immediately at that moment that I wanted to be a “finance geek”. I didn’t know what they did, and quite frankly, I didn’t care. I just knew that I wanted that lifestyle.

And for me – a balding, Persian Jew – there was very little hope of succeeding in sports or entertainment. So, naturally I took the business & finance route.

I never thought it would be this easy, though.

When I originally started looking into what is required to become a broker, I learned from many different sources that first, you needed to go to school for either business, finance, or economics.

Then you were supposed to come out of school and either work your way up the ladder at some bank or scrape for scraps as an intern for some big name brokerage with the hope that you’ll make the right connections to move up.

And I did just that.

I went to school for business & marketing. Then came out, and with my fancy degrees, got a job at the bottom of the food chain at a bank.

Fast forward 7 years and $35 million in clients… and I wasn’t anywhere near Thomas Crown. I had barely gotten a 10% raise.

And, then…

I met my mentor. Per his request, I cannot disclose his name, but I can tell you what he told me.

He had gotten involved in financial services about 10 years before me. And he was a millionaire – multiple times over.

He gave me some very simple advice that ended up drastically changing my life for the better. And ever since then, anyone to whom I’ve given this advice has had similar success.

The advice was simple…

“You don’t need a fancy degree or a position at a fancy firm. To make money as a broker, you need to first get licensed with the state… become a broker instead of an employee… then get more clients than the next guy. Anyone could do that. I could teach a high school dropout to do that.”

And that was it.

That message played in my head over and over.

“… get licensed with the state… become a broker… then find more clients than the next guy… “

It was so simple, but it made sense.

So I got the necessary license to become a broker in California, quit my crappy job at the bank, and started hustling.

It definitely took some hard work, long days and long months… but fast forward a few short years, and the net income from my brokerage is over 7-figures now.

And the awesome thing is… the timing in the market has never been as sweet as it is now to get into finance.

10,000 members of the baby boomer generation are hitting retirement age every day, and they need someone to help them manage their retirement assets so they don’t lose it all to market risk and taxes.

And that’s where you come in.

Starting late 2006 – early 2007 – an estimated transfer of $45 TRILLION started. This is money that is being transferred from risky retirement accounts to fixed and safe retirement accounts.

The average baby boomer lost at least 37% during the crash of 2008 and so they don’t want to risk their money anymore.

The only people that can transfer their funds for them from these risky accounts to the safe ones are the people who are licensed with their state to do so.

And for the 76 million baby boomers, there are less than 30,000 licensed agents available.

The timing of the market is impeccable.

We’re planning on working even harder during the next 5-10 years so we can get as much of that transfer as possible.

How about you?

7 Factors To Evaluate CRM For Financial Services

Before making a decision as to which CRM program to go with, you have to consider a few factors-

1. 360 degree view of the customer
2. Tracking buying behaviour
3. Intelligent marketing/cross selling campaigns
4. Auto alerts and reminders
5. Collaboration capabilities
6. Size and scope of your business
7. Integration with other systems

360 degree view of the customer

One of the first factors to look at is what type of information the CRM software can collect and display for each customers and is it easily accessible around the clock. Can the CRM solution display a holistic view of your customer to all the stakeholders allowing quick response in crucial situations? When working in the financial sector, you may need to collect a large amount of information about each customer for compliance and also to better serve them. This information should be updated regularly and contain details of their most recent transactions. All CRM systems allow you to track basic personal information such as the customer’s name, phone number and address, but you need to track other vital information and analytics too, if you want to provide the best service. For example, in the financial services sector, you may need to keep track of conversations you have about specific investments, risk appetite and goals. Storing this information in your CRM software allows you to easily refer to it before offering ant advice and it also helps in cross-selling.

Tracking buying behaviour

Another feature that you may want to look for in a CRM solution for the financial sector is the ability to track customer decisions and activities. For example, if you sell investment products to your customers, you need to be able to keep track of what products each customer prefers and purchases. By tracking this information, you can develop a profile of each customer and figure out what types of investments they like. This way, when a new product becomes available, you can easily print out a list of customers that may be interested in it. Tracking the past decisions of your customers will give you an inclination of how they might be willing to invest in the future and the most appropriate product to offer.

Intelligent marketing/cross selling campaigns

Many CRM platforms allow you to customize marketing messages to your customers based on the information collected. For example, if your company is promoting a particular mutual fund, you can easily scan through all of your customers that are interested in bonds and mutual funds. You can also see which customers are looking for more investment opportunities, based on discussions that you have had in the past. At that point, the CRM system may be able to send out customized emails to each customer with the pertinent marketing messages using customized templates. Monthly newsletters related to the investment scenario and other key trends can be sent to a specific mailing list too using a mail-blaster.

After sending out marketing messages, it may also be beneficial to be able to track the recipients’ responses to the message and have clarity regarding undelivered ones. Some CRM programs allow you to easily track this information using delivery reports and by generating alerts based on specific filter conditions. By studying this information, you can gauge how much interest the client has in the product that you offered in the marketing message and create follow-up tasks. Text message campaigns for time-bound offers can be created for instantly generating new leads and capturing their details through the CRM solution to ensure effective tracking and optimal conversions.

Auto alerts and reminders

When choosing a CRM solution for your financial services business, you also need to find one that generates reminders on the basis of configurable settings. One of the most important factors of being successful in the financial services industry is developing relationships with your customers. CRM today incorporates impressive social networking features to facilitate viewing profile information, comments and mutual friends. They will also remind you of important dates in the customer’s lives such as birthdays and anniversaries, this can go a long way towards helping you grow your relationships. Most CRM programs even integrate with automated mailing services to send birthday cards or other greetings to leads and customers. Customers like being remembered and enjoy the personalized touch.

Getting reminders from your CRM program can also be beneficial when it comes to selling new products and services to your customers. In some cases, you may approach a customer about a particular product that you want to sell and he will tell you to check back in a month. At that point, you can input this information into your CRM program and set a reminder for the appropriate day and time. An alert can be set for a few hours before the scheduled discussion to ensure all related open activities are completed and you are equipped with up-to-date information to increase your chances of winning an opportunity. Most customers will be impressed that you remembered and are well-informed, thereby being more receptive to your proposals.

Collaboration between all stakeholders

Depending on the size of your business, you may also need to be able to collaborate with multiple departments, partners and even customers. If the financial CRM solution offers the ability to allow multiple users to access and input information, this will increase synergy in the business and help to serve the customers in the most efficient and effective manner.

For instance, when someone from your company talks to a customer, they can take notes on the conversation and input that information into the CRM program. Then when someone else from contacts the same person, he will be able to see the content of the last conversation with that customer. By seeing this, the employee does not have to rehash old information that the customer has already been subjected to in the past. This will please the customer and save the company time overall.

Ideal Business Size

The size of your business also has an impact on what type of financial services CRM solution you should implement. Requirements of large organisations in terms of scalability, integration, processes are more complex and demanding than a small or a medium-sized company. These depends on the number of users, products offered, geographic dispersion of teams etc. You should evaluate both cloud CRM (SaaS CRM) and on premise CRM with an option to switch when needed based on an organization’s needs.

Integration with other systems

Before choosing a financial services CRM solution for your financial services, you may also want to find out if it integrates with other programs that you currently use to store important customer and product related information. For example, if the CRM system allows you to integrate with MS Excel, MS Access, real-time stock market systems, etc. this can increase efficiency. If users have to use completely different programs and re-enter data – adoption will be low, buying the CRM program may not be worth the trouble.

The ultimate goal of using financial services CRM solution is to increase customer loyalty and avoid churn in a competitive and crowded business environment. This software has the potential to improve the user experience by making the marketing and sales processes easier and more efficient. Because of this, it has the potential to keep your customers coming back for more. With most businesses, customers can get the same products you offer from a competitor. The reason they come back to you is because of the service you provide – accurate updates, market insights and timely advice.

Regardless of which financial services CRM solution you choose, make sure the solution provider has a good domain knowledge and past experience of implementing in organisation similar to your size and business. You should always check for references and tangible benefits the implementation delivered.

College Financial Services for Prospective Scholars of Tomorrow

College education for higher studies is like a project for students and parents alike that should be pursued with a systematic plan successfully culminating in the completion of the course that necessitates a stay in the college campus.

During this course at college, one of the major hurdles is the financing that is required by the student to complete his education with the appropriate grades finishing his/her goal of obtaining a appropriate job after college.

Now, after passing his/her term exams every time the student’s requirement is usually the term fees to continue to the next semester and if his parents are unable to pay the same his alternative is to look for financial services from good financial consulting services.

Again, such a financial firm, handling the College financial services scheme, usually has elaborate models with different instruments for implementation of the financial options for students based on the individual’s merit.

Among the numerous options that are available for students, some of the schemes are for those that are good at their studies (the ones whose funding is in the interest of the Federal agencies), then those that are financially better-off (that is they can repay the loan over a period of time) and finally those, that are poor and that may take a while!

While, all of them need assistance the above criteria is the first prescribed to disseminate the loans to students and their parents!

However, in the long run all qualifiers manage to get the aid and get the eligibility for financial assistance to take up and complete their college study.

In most cases, there are special government aided packages that will be put in front of the students in the order of priority stated above and that will again be drafted for the convenience of the respective students and they will be able to accordingly apply for the respective financial assistance from the state or the central government.

Thus in the final analysis, students going for education in college manage to study and pay their fees with the help their own selves first, i.e. by getting good grades which solve half of the problem – qualifying them for a good college and the aid packages that come with the respective college and score.

Subsequently, it is the financial assistance rendered by good financial services firms that work and research their links with both federal and state funding authorities to enable the possibilities for students and render them free and or nominal aid for completing their studies at college.