How to Become a Successful Stockbroker

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Becoming a successful stockbroker involves a level of expertise in a number of areas. As in many professions, the road to success begins with an interest in the field and determination, followed by education, training, and practical skills. The brokerage profession is essentially a sales industry, so persistence and the ability to endure rejection are two cardinal assets.

  • Learn all you can about the industry. The brokerage profession involves much more complexity than simply watching financial television programs and trading stocks. Read books, take classes and talk to industry insiders about the specific knowledge that brokers must possess. Subjects such as modern portfolio theory, the interrelationship of interest rates and market prices and tax ramifications are just a few of the many fundamental principles that all financial services professionals must understand.

  • Complete your licensing requirements. At the least, you will need to pass both the Series 7 and Series 66 exams, which test general knowledge of the securities industry and are offered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, formerly known as the NASD. Many professionals in the industry also obtain the Certified Financial Planner designation. If you are hired by a brokerage firm, they will usually sponsor the cost of your licensing.

  • Work your connections. Education and licensing are important, but without clients to sell financial products to, your career won't last very long. Most firms train their brokers to start by writing down the names of the people they know, and then the names of people their friends know, and so on, to start their client base. Any other connections, such as club memberships, community organizations, and past or present business contacts, should also be used to search for clientele.

  • Go the extra mile to deliver results that exceed client expectations. While being confident on the phone might earn you your first sales, to be a successful broker takes longevity, and your career won't last long if you can't keep your clients happy. Take the time to understand what your clients want and need, and research and present financial products that satisfy these demands. Simply put, do the right thing for your clients. Then do it again and again.

  • Set goals for yourself. Especially in the brokerage business, activity generates success, and having goals will keep you moving even on days when you feel less motivated. For some brokers, sales goals are a motivation, while for others, it is new accounts opened, or phone calls made. Formulate your short-term goals with your long-range objective--becoming a successful stockbroker--foremost in your mind.

  • Analyze your results. Determine what your most productive activities are, and stop or change your less efficient efforts. Get feedback from your clients as to how you are doing. Implement any recommendations, and continue to monitor and adapt your approach as you progress in your career.

Tips & Warnings

  • Learn from others around you, but don't imitate them--the best way to rise to the top in any industry is to differentiate yourself from your competition, not to mimic them.
  • The financial services industry is highly regulated, and while you may have a compliance department monitoring your missteps, it is ultimately your responsibility to insure that you are acting within the guidelines of your industry.

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