When he was 13 years old, Jeremy Dicker, one of the founding partners of One Wealth Management in Santa Monica, California, and one of the youngest-ever qualifiers for the million dollar round table, was handed a business card.
“When you’re getting ready to graduate high school,” said the man who’d hired Dicker to coach his son in baseball, “give me a call. I’ll show you how to pay for college.”
It might seem like an odd prospecting technique, but Dicker called him four years later and started his journey toward where he is today, with $200 million in assets under management and a thriving business driven by a commitment to forward momentum and attention to detail.
“I was an underachieving kid, not academically inclined. I didn’t have money growing up, but I was entrepreneurial and had a problem with authority figures,” Dicker said with a laugh. “But I found this amazing profession at 17, and it’s one I’m proud of.”
Smart Prospecting, Stellar Service
Targeted prospecting is a big part of Dicker’s success. It starts with identifying the market you want to work in and then only prospecting to people and businesses in those sectors. But there’s more to it than that.
First off, Dicker said, know your language. “As you know,” Dicker tells his prospects, “I work exclusively on a referral basis. And every time I meet with anyone, I get referred to five people they like and respect.”
And Dicker does his research – his interns keep an eye on the social media profiles of promising prospects and their connections. From there, they build smart lead lists of potential customers the prospect in question already knows. The list allows Dicker to go on: “Here are some people I’m going to be calling next week. When I do, do you mind if I tell them how much you like and respect them?”
Who, Dicker asks, is going to say no to that?
“For me, that’s been a successful way to work upmarket and get referred to people I might otherwise not,” he said.
The other thing Dicker highlights as a practice with high returns is making sure to treat your clients with the same respect you want, specifically in terms of the office environment you’ve set up to receive them.
“Are you serving coffee in paper cups or in china, or nice mugs? Do you shine your shoes? Get your hair cut?” Dicker asks.
In his office, there are iPads in the walls controlling everything. IPads have also replaced magazines in the sitting area, and depending on the time of day clients arrive they can make high-end espresso drinks with the office’s fancy coffee maker or, after a long day, take advantage of dual beer taps and a full bar.
The attention to detail goes right down to stationery selection. If you just landed a $100,000 sale, Dicker said, what does it say about you if you’re earning $50,000 off that transaction and you stick the paperwork into, as he calls them, those terrible paper policy wallets?
“It’s worth investing in a nice presentation,” he said. “Too often in our business people think it’s OK to just let these things go, to not put a degree of thought and detail into what you do. But people notice that stuff; it’s the little things, not the big things.”
Attitude is Everything
“I live my life by relentless forward momentum,” Dicker said. “I always want to be moving forward. No matter how difficult things are, it’s always darkest before the dawn.” Dicker is a firm believer, too, that you can set yourself up for success by choosing how dark you allow that darkness to be.
“I go by the 80/20 rule,” he said. “Eighty percent of the time, things will be great. Twenty percent, they’re not. But if you get all 20 percent of the bad stuff first thing on Monday morning, you have a choice. You can say, this sucks, I’m going back to bed. Or you can say, I just got through the worst of the week – everything else is going to be awesome.”
Set Yourself Up for Success
“Everything you do in your day,” Dicker said, “is the function of what you’ve set yourself up to do in previous days – not on the day you want success, but days and weeks before.”
Dicker argues that part of setting yourself up for success is to first know who you are. “At the highest level,” he said, “you’re never going to be able to replicate someone else’s success by trying to be them. You have to be you. And if you try to fit yourself into a box that’s not the way you are, you won’t have the kind of success you want. Even if you do have success, you probably won’t enjoy the ride, because it’s not about money.”
In fact, he said, it’s much more about what advisors can do for their clients and families, something he experienced firsthand. He shared the story of his father, who was homeless and living under a freeway, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. Dicker and his sister had to find him, provide him with assets left to him in trust, and get him housed and medicated.
“Going through that – how difficult it was for him, and the ability for me to be able to be involved both financially and with my time speaks volumes to what our business is really all about,” Dicker said, “which is helping people.”
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Opinions expressed by those interviewed are their own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.