1. What is your passion?
Producing and managing require entirely different skillsets, although both roles require skills in building relationships and networking. As a producer, you coach your clients and inspire them to follow a sound financial plan. As a manager, you coach your producers and inspire them to build their practices in an optimum way.
The path you take largely depends on your passion.
If you enjoy building a book of business and establishing relationships with clients, then you probably will be happier as a producer. If you think you might enjoy recruiting, hiring, and developing other people, then management is probably a better choice for you.
Some firms and companies allow their managers to continue with personal sales. That is a benefit because producers can try out the management role before letting go of their hard-earned books of business. But most people find they are better at and are more passionate about, either selling or management. They usually end up choosing one or the other because it is difficult to serve two masters.
2. How do you want to spend your time?
As a personal producer, you have a lot of independence. You can set your schedule the way that works best for meeting with your clients. If you go into management, you will lose some of that freedom. Plus, your producers will rely on you to guide and coach them, and sometimes that requires flexibility and unexpected meetings.
Consider this hypothetical situation. You have planned a nice evening at dinner with your spouse. You’re both looking forward to some much-needed time to invest in your relationship. One of your associates who really needs to make a sale calls or texts you right in the middle of your candlelight dinner. This sale will make or break his career. He needs some advice — right now — about meeting with a potentially big client in an hour. How would you handle that situation?
This type of scenario happens to managers all the time, and it’s just one example of why you need your family’s support if you enter a management role.
Going on joint sales calls with associates can be a big part of management, too. It’s important to establish boundaries initially and communicate them to your associates. For example, you might make yourself available for evening calls two nights per week. If that is the case, you must make sure your family is supportive of your being out late those nights. You will also need to make sure your associates respect that boundary and do not schedule you to go on calls with them on other evenings.
3. Do you enjoy challenging others to be their best?
As a producer, you have probably worked hard at strengthening your skills in selling, building relationships, and partnering with other associates to cross-sell financial products and services to clients. If you enter management, you will need to excel at helping Other people strengthen their skills.
If you have never managed other people before, you will want to get some training in this area so you can become adept at recruiting talent, recognizing and building on associates’ strengths, inspiring associates to perform at their best, and helping them set and achieve goals.
Ultimately, the people who are most successful in management have always had a burning desire to lead others. They are already leaders in civic groups, charitable groups, their neighborhood homeowners’ association, scouting, or their place of worship. They love seeing other people achieve and become successful. If this describes you, then you are likely to be highly successful in management and leading others.
You can be a leader in either personal production or management. If you are considering management as an option for your future, ask yourself these questions to find out where your true passion lies. And if you decide to stay in personal production, your manager will appreciate your honesty.