From time to time, we'll ask advisors and program managers a list of questions that we feel can benefit others in the industry. Their responses may be edited for length and clarity.

Bob Carr
Program Manager
Central Trust Bank/Invest Financial
Jefferson City, Mo.

What's your biggest challenge now?
The obvious answer is preparing our advisor team to re-engineer themselves to the new fiduciary rule sales environment. But beyond that, my ongoing focus is the continued development of every sales person on our team. Understanding the type of training each individual needs to help them achieve a higher satisfaction level for them professionally.  We have 35 advisors and we have 4 separate sales training programs. This is a newer initiative as in years past we have focused more on our newer advisors.   

How are you facing that challenge?
We are developing a unique curriculum for each group. Role play and scripting for our newbies and other groups focus more on a selling system and positioning themselves inside and outside the bank. Moving clients along the development path so many can be important advocates for the individual advisor.   

What's your best prospecting technique?
Time blocking and practice. I’ve found in my many years of experience that many tenured advisors are very poor prospectors. We spend time practicing and sharing best practices.  We encourage everyone to time block for prospecting as it is very important.

What’s your best piece of advice for rookie advisors?
Take your time developing a relationship with a new client. I ask our rookies to focus on individual bonds, fixed annuities, fixed index annuities and SEI managed accounts.  Let clients gain your trust before exposing them to higher risk investments like a MF or UIT that could give them an early negative statement. I am a firm believer that you don’t want a new relationship getting a negative statement when you are a rookie. Let them gain trust and you gain experience. Especially as we are in the  seventh year of a bull market. 

How long have you been in the industry and what's the biggest professional change you've seen in that time?
I started as an advisor in 1978, and became a program manager in 1993. In that time, the professional level of our industry has greatly increased. Being a financial advisor is a respected profession now and everyone focuses on what is best for the client, not themselves.  I started at the wires and it was truly similar to any of the Wall Street movies. The focus was on sales and sales credits. Very few focused on goal-based investing.  It was all about making money but the client wasn’t first on that list. 

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