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February 2012

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The Forgotten, Most Important Quality of a New Recruit

The Art of High Performance Recruiting

Jim RutaBy Jim Ruta, BA, RHU

Without this quality, few new advisors ever amount to much.  This quality does not guarantee their success.  But the lack of it does guarantee eventual failure.  It’s that critical for success.

Despite its importance, we don’t hear much about this quality today either. Instead, we hear about other important qualities as if they alone were sufficient for success. You can read about these pleasant qualities in advertisements and even on Linkedin.com summaries of recruiting managers.

These advertised qualities are things like:

  • The desire to run a business, to “be your own boss”
  • Wanting to make a career change
  • Being a “people person”
  • Unlimited income aspirations
  • Looking to make a difference in the lives of others
  • An interest in financial services

These are all good.  They are just not enough.  Many of these characteristics could even apply to other opportunities too.  These aren’t specific enough to help potential candidates self-identify – a major predictor of success.  And they aren’t enough for you to select on either. There is something missing.

Today’s lists seem to purposely avoid a very important characteristic that is absolutely necessary for success in any personal services business.  That forgotten, most important quality?  “Sales talent and interest”.  There, I said it – selling.  Unless a person can work a sales system, business will be slow and the career will be cruel, brutish and short. It’s the very nature of business. New advisors have to be prepared to sell.

If they find selling distasteful and disagreeable the experiment will be a disaster, regardless of how hard you try to camouflage the career.

There’s just no denying it. I know. I tried.  A lot.

Any time my team or I ignored this quality, we regretted it.  We thought that we could teach recruits how to sell.  And while this is true, you can’t teach someone to like selling, regardless of how qualified they were otherwise.  If they don’t want to sell, they won’t.  No selling talent and selling interest always meant eventual failure.


Jim Ruta, BA, RHU, is a performance consultant, and speaker for the financial services industry. He is on the Executive Committee of GAMA International Canada as Secretary/Treasurer. Founder and CEO of the Expert Institute, he re-energizes advisors with the Art of High Performance. For more information, visit, www.JimRuta.com.

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