Advice for young advisors: determination pays off!

By Alain Thériault | June 20 2011 05:50PM

He has yet to hit 30, and only six years into his career Alexandre Moïse already earns a six-figure annual income and has hired an assistant.

Mr. Moïse has attended each of the Sales Champions conferences held at The Insurance and Investments Convention throughout his fledgling career. For six years running, he told himself “one day I will be on that stage.” On Nov. 13, 2009, he made his dream a reality.

When Convention president Serge Therrien first asked Mr. Moïse to participate in the sales champions session, he enthusiastically agreed. Later though, his eagerness gave way to anxiety. “What can I possibly tell them? In that room, people have been working in the industry longer than I’ve been on this planet!” he though.

But, at the Convention, he rose to the occasion and delivered a strong message about the need for succession in the industry and what it takes for a young advisor to succeed.

A fail-proof recipe

Mr. Alexandre projected on a large screen a picture that would be his backdrop throughout the presentation: a recipe, with its ingredients. This recipe, based on rigorous personal discipline, allowed him to escape the three-quarter syndrome: four years into their career, over 70% of recruits get fed up and leave! Research firm, LIMRA International, confirms this statistic.

Mr. Alexandre works through the Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network (DFSIN), at the company he founded, Moïse & Associates. For him, discipline means improving a particular point of your practice each week, which gives him a sense of personal accomplishment. “For example, I asked myself how I could increase my income? The answer? I hired an assistant two years ago. The result was phenomenal. I freed enormous amounts of time for professional and personal purposes. I guarantee that the expense is well worth it.”

Success also requires what he calls the yeast that let him jumpstart his career. He sums it up in three words: courage, determination and tenacity. Courage is what drove him to overcome a daunting disability in a career where communication is crucial: stuttering.

Determination – as a young student he successfully ran a painting company which confirmed that he had a knack for business. This painting company allowed him to generate his own income for four years. This entrepreneurial experience spearheaded his career as a financial securities advisor, he says.

Tenacity – summarized by the small note he has carried on him since his student days. It boosts Alexandre energy reserves during tough times. “I see, I think, I visualize, I achieve.”

Reflection – is also part of his recipe for success. The hiring of an assistant helped him save time and see the bigger picture. Mr. Alexandre constantly gauges whether he is focusing on activities that really generate income for his company.

Another part of his recipe involves optimizing efficiency, he continues. “Three years ago, I made a difficult but profitable decision: not to leave the office. Since then, 75% and 80% of my clients come meet me there. For the others, we use webcams. We set a precise time for the virtual meeting. Beforehand, we send the client the agenda digitally, with the points to cover and recommendations.”

Mr. Alexandre firmly believes in the importance of surrounding oneself with the best. As a rookie at DFSIN he invited the top advisors out to breakfast or lunch to soak up their “tricks of the trade.” “Stick to people that succeed. Tell them about your ambitions, your fears and concerns, discuss a particular file for which they may have a solution or a different perspective. It’s an extremely worthwhile exercise,” he says.

Realism is another key ingredient. “Set realistic objectives,” the young adviser urges. “Write them down and look at them at least once a week. Live them.”

But setting realistic objectives, doesn’t mean you can’t aim high. In fact, the last crucial ingredient in his recipe is audacity. “Be daring: leave your comfort zone…Make the extra effort, drive the last lap around the track to reach your prospect, your client.”

Speaking of the last lap around the track, Mr. Alexandre, a car racing fan, went the extra mile, to land breakfast with his idol: former Formula 1 driver Jacques Villeneuve. Anything is possible, Mr. Alexandre concludes, quoting his mentor, Jean-Yves St-Pierre: “To have things that others don’t, do things that others won’t.”