When I used to watch movies about brokers on TV, I always thought that's the life I want. After all, it looks so cool, no?
So when I finally got my first job as a broker trainee, I was totally excited and ready to go. I really couldn't wait to get started.
Fast forward to a week later and I thought to myself, how am I ever going to get through this? This is NOT at all what I thought it would be.
In fact, it was quite the opposite!
See, the first step to becoming a stockbroker is to start off as a stock broker trainee and learning to cold call.
When I was working on 2 Wall Street, my brokerage firm used D&Bs to have us call and get leads.
D&Bs is short for Dunn and Bradstreet. They're a company that sells little information cards to financial institutions that have all sorts of financial data printed on them. At least they did when I was a broker. By now I'm sure everyhting is computer only.
D&B's include a person (like the CEO or President of the company)and the company's contact information like their address and telephone number obviously. But then there is a bunch of information like how much they are reporting to the IRS as their annual salary and so on.
So you may get a card like ACME Plumbing. CEO - John Watts. Company annual sales $50.000.000. Then address, telephone and so on...
Cold Calling as a Stock Broker Trainee
So your first job as a Stock Broker Trainee is to learn how to take that information on the card and turn it into a hot lead so either you or your senior broker can sell them stocks and mutual funds!
That means you need to learn to cold call. Meaning getting on the phone and calling someone that has never heard from you or your firm, and most likely doesn't want to.
That is the “cold” part of cold calling.
So my first two months I would be calling D&Bs for around ten to twelve hours a day. How long you'll need to be cold calling is really up to your brokerage firm or the broker that hired you, how fast you learn and how hard you work.
The thing is, there are hundreds, if not thousands of other stockbroker trainees doing the exactly the same thing! And all from the same cards or another similar lead source as each other.
So the first thing you need to learn is to get through the "Gate Keeper" which is usually the secretary. No easy task I can tell you! As she is getting a ton of calls daily from broker trainees just like you.
Then once you do get through the gate keeper, you need to convince the potential client that your brokerage firm and yourself is worth listening to. And you better do it in less than 7 seconds.
If you can do all of that, your cold call then becomes a lead.
A lead is simply someone that is willing to take your next call and give you a few minutes of their time. Or agrees to accept mailings or some sort of communication from you.
The firm I worked for required trainees to be able to get at least 20 leads per day consistently in order to be even considered to go for their stock broker license. Other firms require even more.
It took me a few weeks to consistently get 20 leads per day. It's not as easy as it sounds, trust me.
But it really is great training!
You learn to get aggressive on the phone. Figure out how to talk to people to get them to do what you want them to do. There is no better training as far as sales than going through a broker training program on Wall Street! Seriously!
In the video above, you get an idea of what a good lead is and why. Don't think for a second this is only in the movies, this was exactly the training I went through at one of the firms I worked at.
Depending on your employer, you can also be learning a bunch of other stuff as well.
For me, I was also starting to learn how to pitch stocks as well as working on my closes and rebuttals which I'll explain in more detail later.
And of course starting to study for your Series 7 & 63 exams.
Getting ready for your exams takes some work. They're pretty serious. And if you can't pass, you can't be a broker. It's the law, so really no way around it. Unless of course you just want to be a stock broker trainee all your life.
Now this was MY own personal experience on Wall Street.
Every broker dealer has it's own requirements and training programs.
Heck, some have none :)
But the one thing they definitely do all have in common is bringing out your ability to sell! And if you can't sell, or you're afraid of selling, either get over it or you shouldn't be a stockbroker. Just being honest here.