From time to time, we'll ask an advisor a list of questions that we feel can help others in the industry. Their responses may edited for length and clarity.

Brick Sturgeon Jr.
Pinnacle Financial Partners
Nashville, Tenn.
TPM: Raymond James

What's your biggest challenge these days? 
For my practice: After 26 years in business, making sure all clients are getting proper proactive service is a challenge. 

With clients: the biggest challenge is explaining flattish performance over the last year with a sideways market. Keeping them from making ill-timed changes is easier if the market falls far and quickly and then begins a recovery – it becomes more difficult with a market that drifts sideways for a couple of years. 

How are you facing that challenge?
For my practice:  Considering a junior broker.

With clients:  Writing frequent e-mails and a newsletters explaining the current market and highlighting the pitfalls of making poor choices just because the market makes you feel like you should do something.  Also, show them that I am not selling or making big changes (and in many cases buying on the dips).

What's your best prospecting technique?
Doing a monthly newsletter and giving every prospect a copy of my [financial] statement.  Showing a prospect where you invest your own money and the long term performance is very powerful.

What’s your best piece of advice for rookie advisors?
Don’t try to re-invent the wheel.  Develop a process or system of making calls, setting appointments, closing business, asking for referrals, and follow up review.  Do this for each prospect and make it automatic so you can replicate the process.

How long have you been in the industry? What's the biggest professional change you've seen in that time? 
26 years. Biggest change is technology.  When I started, you purchased a list of names and cold called to schedule appointments in a paper calendar.  You could actually call people at their home number and they would answer!  Then you had to use your HP-12C to calculate everything and teach folks about compound interest. If you opened an account, you filled out an order ticket and gave it to a person to execute.  I remember when we got the first computer in our office and we all had to sign up for times to use it.  Hard to imagine now.