Be prepared for sudden termination

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Even if you're not currently planning a career move, you should keep a list of clients' names and contact information, as well as proof of your own production, outside the office just in case you find yourself suddenly out of a job.

Advisers can be fired at any time, for any number of reasons. Sometimes, it's not their fault, such as a downsizing of smaller producers. It may not even be a case where they're fired, but rather they suddenly decided to quit one day. It happens.

Either way, if you are suddenly unemployed and don’t have a printout of your clients, it will cost you dearly. Keep a current printed copy of sales production and proof of assets in a safe place at home. Being able to prove past production means the difference between a great deal and no deal when you are moving firms. I have known many advisers who have been caught flat-footed and they missed out on hundreds of thousands of dollars because they didn’t have a simple printout of numbers. Others had no way to contact clients because they didn’t have the contact information outside the office.

As for your own performance numbers, current production data is the most important, but there also are times when past numbers come into play as well. Many firms have different methodologies for calculating recruiting deals. Some look at the trailing 12 months' worth of production. Others look at the last three months and average that number with the last 12. There are other ways, as well, but if you don’t have the data, it can be impossible to go back and retrieve it.

When I was in production, I would print out proof of assets and production at the end of every month. I also kept my clients information in an outside contact manager software database. Having all your clients in an updated outside database makes a transition to a new firm much easier. There are enough other stresses when you change firms. If you have to put all your clients into a spreadsheet at the last minute, it is one stress you don’t need.

Weird things happen in this business. Anyone can be fired or decide to change firms quickly. Make sure you’re the one who's prepared.

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