Financial services sales is among the most potentially rewarding careers today. The field is extremely challenging, and many aspiring financial salespeople never find their niches and wash out. But successful financial product salespeople have practically unlimited income potential, lucrative residual income and tremendous personal freedom. Many of them take great satisfaction in helping people achieve their financial goals. There are, however, some steps you have to take before you can sell financial instruments.
Obtain an insurance license. The insurance industry is regulated at the state, not the federal level. You must get an insurance license in your state. For most aspiring financial services professionals, you will want to get a life and health license, which enables you to sell life insurance, medical insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance and fixed annuities.
Get appointed with one or more insurance companies doing business in your state. You must be formally appointed with a company to sell that company's products in a given state. You can be appointed with more than one company. Indeed, most agents do just that, although they may represent one carrier as a primary carrier.
Take the Series 6 Exam. This is the exam administered on behalf of the Securities Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The Series 6 authorizes you to solicit and sell a number of variable investment products, including variable life insurance, variable annuities and mutual funds. Many agents and financial advisors do not pursue further licensing beyond this point and have very successful careers.
Obtain the Series 7 license. This license allows you to buy and sell securities such as stocks, bonds, preferred stock, convertibles and options. This exam is more demanding than the Series 6, and contains more investment theory and abstract concepts. However, holding this license opens up a number of lucrative career opportunities, such as working as a trader for financial institutions.
The most important thing to remember about selling financial instruments is the importance of prospecting. A relentless prospecting effort is the first key to a successful financial sales career.
Jason Van Steenwyk has been writing professionally since 1998. A former staff reporter for "Mutual Funds Magazine," he has been published in "Wealth and Retirement Planner," "Annuity Selling Guide," "Registered Rep." "Bankrate.com" and "Senior Market Advisor." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from the University of Southern California.